On Tuesday, Florida Attorney General Ashley Moody announced a multistate, multimillion-dollar agreement against a national pharmaceutical company.
Florida is one of 15 states, along with the federal government, settling allegations of kickback violations against Pacira Pharmaceuticals, Inc., d/b/a Pacira, a developer and manufacturer of pharmaceutical products based in Parsippany, New Jersey. Pursuant to the settlement terms, Pacira will pay $3.5 million plus interest, to Florida, the U.S. government and 14 additional states.
“Providing kickbacks to increase the sale of a product is unethical and illegal. This crooked scheme to make a dishonest profit not only violated federal statutes, it included falsified claims to the Florida Medicaid program—ripping off taxpayers in the process. I’m proud to join the U.S. government and 14 other states in bringing restitution and recoveries to those affected by this kickback scheme,” Moody said on Tuesday.
The settlement resolves allegations dating back to 2012 that Pacira paid kickbacks in the form of research grants to certain health care providers or institutions in order to increase sales of its product EXPAREL, a single-dose injectable local anesthetic indicated for the treatment of post-surgical pain. The government alleges that Pacira’s conduct violated the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute and the Florida False Claims Act, resulting in the submission of false claims to the Florida Medicaid program.
This settlement results from a whistleblower lawsuit originally filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey. A team from the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units participated in the settlement negotiations on behalf of the states. The NAMFCU Team included representatives from the Offices of the Attorneys General for the states of Florida, Louisiana, New York, Texas and Virginia.