Boehringer Ingelheim Settles False Claims Act Allegations

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc., a Connecticut based pharmaceutical manufacturer, has reached an agreement with the US Government to pay $95 million to resolve allegations relating to the unlawful marketing of three different drugs.

Aggrenox, a stroke-prevention drug, Combivent, a COPD drug and Micardis, a hypertension drug, were all involved in the settlement which alleged that Boehringer improperly marketed these drugs thus causing false claims to be submitted to the government’s health care programs.  According to the allegations, the pharmaceutical manufacturer was marketing or promoting these specific drugs for uses that were not medically accepted and were not approved by the FDA, and were therefore not covered by federal health care programs.

In addition to resolving the allegations that Boehringer deliberately marketed these drugs improperly, it was also found that they promoted the sale and use of the COPD drugs at doses that were well above the amount that would be covered by federal health care programs.  Also, the company was found to have been making unproven claims that its drug, Aggrenox, was superior to Plavix.  Lastly, the company was alleged to have been paying kickbacks to health care professionals so that they would prescribe Boehringer’s drugs.

As a result of the $95 million settlement, the federal government will acquire $78,455,048, and state Medicaid programs will obtain $16,544,952.  The settlement was filed in the District of Maryland under the Federal False Claims Act and the whistleblower in this case, Mr. Heiden, will receive $17 million.

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