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Medco Health Solutions To Pay $7.9 Mln To Resolve Kickback Allegations

Medco Health Solutions Inc., a wholly-owned subsidiary of the pharmacy benefit manager Express Scripts Holding Company, of Missouri, has agreed to pay the government $7.9 million to settle allegations that it engaged in a kickback scheme in violation of the False Claims Act, the Justice Department announced today.

Medco provides pharmacy benefit management services to clients who receive subsidies under the Medicare Retiree Drug Subsidy program.

The settlement resolves allegations that Medco solicited remuneration from AstraZeneca, a pharmaceutical manufacturer, in exchange for identifying Nexium as the "sole and exclusive" proton pump inhibitor on certain of Medco's prescription drug lists known as formularies. The United States alleged that Medco received some or all of the remuneration from AstraZeneca in the form of reduced prices on the following AstraZeneca drugs: Prilosec, Toprol XL and Plendil.

The United States contended that this kickback arrangement between Medco and AstraZeneca violated the Federal Anti-Kickback statute, and thereby caused the submission of false or fraudulent claims for Nexium to the Retiree Drug Subsidy Program. In January 2015, the United States and AstraZeneca reached a $7.9 million settlement to resolve kickback allegations arising out of the same conduct.

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