Attorney General announces that Colorado will receive $79,208 from multistate Medicaid-fraud settlement

DENVER — Colorado Attorney General John Suthers announced today that Colorado has joined with other states and the federal government in reaching an agreement with Alpharma, Inc., to settle allegations of fraudulent Medicaid claims submitted for the drug Kadian, a painkiller intended for the management of moderate to severe pain. Colorado will receive $79,208 of the $19.2 million the pharmaceutical company has agreed to pay the states and federal government.

According to the multistate lawsuit, Alpharma was alleged to have offered and paid for training programs, consulting forums, research grants, speakers’ bureaus and made or disseminated false statements about the safety and efficacy of Kadian between January 2000 and December 2008. An investigation showed that doctors courted by Alpharma and who received various indirect forms of kickbacks from the company prescribed higher quantities of Kadian than those who did not. As a result, the Colorado Medicaid program was billed for drugs that it otherwise would not have been were it not for Alpharma’s activities.

Colorado’s Medicaid program pays out nearly $4 billion every year for the medical care of approximately 700,000 qualified recipients. The 14-member Medicaid Fraud Control Unit investigates and prosecutes providers suspected of defrauding the Colorado’s Medicaid program. The Medicaid Fraud Control Unit also investigates and prosecutes cases involving the physical and financial abuse of seniors and other residents of federally funded long-term care facilities.

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