My thoughts: I think those responsible should be going to jail. A blue collar worker, stealing a bottle of aspirin, will go to jail. Aventis, guilty of stealing $95 million, gets to pay it back, and the responsible parties are free to do it again. Justice should be blind, but apparently, if your pockets are lined with the almighty dollar, you get, basically, a free pass.
Pharmaceutical giant Aventis must pay more than 95 million dollars in an out-of-court settlement, after overcharging US and local health agencies for medications destined for indigent patients, federal prosecutors said Thursday.
“We will continue to ensure that programs for the most vulnerable portions of our population do not pay any more for pharmaceutical products than they should under the law,” Tony West, an assistant attorney general at the US Justice Department said in a statement announcing the settlement.
Aventis Pharmaceutical Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of Sanofi-Aventis, acknowledged that it violated the False Claims Act by misreporting drug prices for patients in the Medicaid Drug Rebate program for poor patients.
Under the program, Aventis was required to report to Medicaid the lowest price that it charged commercial customers, and pay quarterly rebates to the states for their Medicaid patients, based on those reported prices.
But Aventis deliberately misquoted the prices, underpaying rebates to Medicaid and overcharging some public health agencies for the medications.