Omnicare to pay $28M to settle DOJ charges

Omnicare to pay $28M to settle DOJ charges
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The nation’s largest nursing home pharmacy has agreed to pay $28 million to settle Department of Justice claims that it solicited and received kickbacks for promoting the use of an anti-epileptic drug in treating elderly residents suffering from dementia.

Omnicare Inc. allegedly recommended physicians prescribe the drug Depakote to nursing home patients in exchange for payments from the drug's manufacturer, Abbott Laboratories.

The Justice Department claims the payments were disguised as “grants” and “educational funding” for Omnicare’s "Re*View” program. 

“Every day, elderly nursing home residents suffering from dementia rely on the independent judgment of our nation’s healthcare professionals for their personal care and their medical treatment,” Benjamin Mizer, head of the agency's Civil Division, said in a statement. 

“Kickbacks to entities making drug recommendations compromise their independence and undermine their role in protecting nursing home residents from the use of unnecessary drugs.”

The Justice Department said $20.3 million of the settlement will go to the government, while $7.8 million will go to cover Medicaid program claims by states that elect to participate in the settlement. CVS Health Corporation acquired the Ohio-based company about six years after the alleged conduct ended.