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RI to recieve $170 thousand in drug company settlement

September 2, 2010

Rhode Island is getting a 170 thousand dollar  cut from a $50.7 million dollar settlement between  the federal government and Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals.

The Justice Department alleges that the drug company, which is a subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson, marketed an anti- seizure and migraine prevention medication called Topamax as a drug for other conditions, including bi-polar disorder and alcohol and drug addiction, which were not uses approved by the FDA.

This promotion of so called “off label” uses classifies as a violation of the False Claims Act.  The  Justice Department says the 2009 law has helped the federal government make over $3 billion dollars in prosecuting health care fraud.

Because RI’s state Medicaid program reimbursed doctors for the use of Topomax, little Rhody receives a piece of the settlement money. According to Attorney General Patrick Lynch, the 170 thousand dollars will go to the State Department of Human Services., which manages Rhode Island’s Medicaid program.

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