AmerisourceBergen, America’s largest drug wholesaler, recently agreed to pay $625 million to settle claims that a former subsidiary of the company repackaged millions of containers of cancer drugs to sell overfills, a scheme worth millions of dollars that put cancer patients at risk of using contaminated drugs. The lawsuit also accused the company of providing kickbacks to doctors who took part in the scheme.
Background of the case
The case began when Michael Mullen, who worked as chief operating officer for the unit, informed his superiors of the practice. He was fired shortly thereafter, and decided he would blow the whistle on the scheme.
A subsidiary of the company, Medical Initiatives, already pleaded guilty in September 2017, and agreed to pay $260 million in forfeitures and fines.
AmerisourceBergen did not admit any wrongdoing as part of the settlement. However, it did agree to implement a new corporate integrity policy. It also released a statement that said some of the practices used by Medical Initiatives in the past did not meet AmerisourceBergen’s corporate standards.
Medical Initiatives and another Alabama-based subsidiary, Oncology Supply Co., were accused of preparing millions of cancer medicines and syringes in an unapproved facility. Employees would remove drugs from their original vials and multiple vials of the drugs would be pooled in untested plastic containers, including the overfill, which is the extra amount put in by drug manufacturers to make sure there was a full dose.
AmerisourceBergen would also allegedly give kickbacks to doctors to encourage them to buy drugs through a prefilled syringe program. It hid those kickbacks as pharmacy credits.
To learn more about the steps you should take if you become aware of healthcare fraud, contact an experienced whistleblower attorney at Kardell Law Group.