BMS Settlement Cash Distributed

July 23, 2008

Pharmaceutical Executive

Volume 0, Issue 0

Bristol-Meyers Squibb will pay more than half a billion dollars to settle charges that it illegally promoted the sale of the anti-psychotic drug Abilify for off-label uses.

Time to divvy up the cash. Last week, the 44 states involved in a massive lawsuit against Bristol Meyers Squibb for illegal off-label marketing of its anti-psychotic drug Abilify have begun distributing monies collected from the $515 million settlement.

Of the states that have begun seeing checks: Missouri will be receiving $11 million, the Massachusetts Medicaid program will take $9 million, Indiana will see $2 million, Georgia will get $12 million, and Delaware expects about a $1 million.

While some are pleased that the settlement is leading to financial reparations, others are concerned that these illegal off-label practices will continue.

"The allegations were that these companies not only engaged in a pattern of kickbacks and false reporting to drive up both the sales and prices for its drugs, they also encouraged healthcare providers to prescribe a potent drug to both children and seniors for uses that had not been approved by the FDA," Georgia Attorney General Thurbert Baker stated in a release.

BMS also agreed last week to pay New York City $7.5 million, and the state of New York $40 million for inflating wholesale prices of its drugs. The settlement stems from a 2004 lawsuit brought by the city against 44 pharmaceutical companies.

"This lawsuit is one of several that the city brought in an effort to rein in the widespread fraudulent practices that unlawfully inflate the city's Medicaid costs," said Michael Cardozo, corporation counsel of the City of New York. "The settlement will return to the city almost the full value of its claims against Bristol-Myers Squibb. We are pleased at the successful resolution reached with one of the defendants, and hope to reach similarly successful resolutions with others."