Abbott, B. Braun, Boehringer Ingelheim Settle Drug-Pricing Cases For $421M

BOSTON -- (Mealey's) Drug and medical supply makers Abbott Laboratories Inc., B. Braun Medical Inc. and Roxane Laboratories (now known as Boehringer Ingelheim Roxane Inc.) have agreed to pay a total of $421 million to settle False Claims Act allegations that they published inflated prices and caused the federal government to pay higher costs, the U.S. Justice Department announced Dec. 7.

Boehringer Ingelheim Roxane will pay $280 million for reporting false prices for azathioprine, diclofenac sodium, furosemide, hydromorphone, ipratropium bromide, Oramorph SR, Roxanol, Roxicodone and sodium polystyrene sulfonate, the Justice Department said.

Abbott will pay $126.5 million with respect to its reported prices for dextrose solutions, sodium chloride solutions and a combination product of sterile water and the antibiotic vancomycin. 

B. Braun Medical, a U.S. subsidiary of B. Braun Melsungen AG of Germany, will pay $14,744,000 for inflating the prices of 49 drug products, including water-based intravenous solutions such as dextrose, sodium chloride and sterile water and lactated ringers solutions.  Also included are intravenous nutritional solutions and other intravenous drugs, the government said.

The government said a False Claims Act complaint was filed on behalf of the government against Roxane and that the government intervened in the lawsuit on Jan. 18, 2007.  Two qui tam lawsuits were filed against Abbott and the government intervened in one in May 2006.

The whistle-blower suits were filed by Ven-A-Care of the Florida Keys Inc., a home infusion company, and its principals, Mark T. Jones, Luis Cobo and Dr. John M. Lockwood.  The relators will receive about $88.4 million of the settlement as their statutory share of the recovery, the government said.

The Ven-A-Care lawsuits were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida and were later transferred to the District of Massachusetts as In Re:  Ven-A-Care Cases (No. 06-11337, D. Mass.) where other average wholesale price litigation is centralized before Judge Patti B. Saris.

[Editor's Note:  Full coverage will be in the Dec. 16 issue of Mealey's Emerging Drugs & Devices.  For all of your legal news needs, please visit www.lexisnexis.com/mealeys.]

For more information, call editor Tom Moylan at 215-988-7739, or e-mail him at tom.moylan@lexisnexis.com.