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Friday, May 27, 2011
Attorney General Bob Cooper announced on Monday that Tennessee, along with other states and the federal government, has reached a settlement with pharmaceutical manufacturer EMD Serono, Inc., to resolve allegations that the company caused fraudulent claims to be submitted to the state’s Medicaid program.
The agreement settles allegations that EMD Serono unlawfully offered kickbacks to physicians to prescribe its multiple sclerosis drug, Rebif. Under the agreement, EMD Serono will pay the participating states and the United States $44.3 million plus interest.
The Medicaid programs nationwide will receive approximately $19 million of the total settlement. Under the agreement, Tennessee will receive $518,317.00.
During the investigation, the states and federal government determined that EMD Serono offered and paid inducements to health care professionals for activities such as promotional speaking engagements, attending speaker training, advisory and consultant meetings, educational grants, and charitable contributions.
Among the allegations was that one purpose of the payments that occurred from March 2002 through December 2009 was to induce those professionals to prescribe Rebif.
“No one should have to worry about whether the drug their doctor is prescribing is the result of a drug company’s kickback to the doctor,” Attorney General Cooper said. “We will aggressively pursue those companies breaking the law and the trust of Tennesseans.”
“Whistleblowers can play a vital role to protect those citizens who trust their health care professionals to provide them the best treatment available because they care for their patients, not because a certain drug pads their pocketbooks,” TBI Director Mark Gwyn said. “TBI's Medicaid Fraud Control Unit is always available to assist in these investigations.”
The investigation was launched after a private plaintiff filed a qui tam or whistleblower lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.
The Tennessee Bureau of Investigation’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit participated in the investigation as part of the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units.
Source: The Chattanoogan.com
Thursday, May 26, 2011
Mark Christian - 23ABC North Of The River Reporter
BAKERSFIELD, Calif. -- Wednesday was World Multiple Sclerosis Day, and two local families spoke out about how the disease has affected them.
MS is usually diagnosed in people between the ages 20 and 50 years old, but some doctors are becoming concerned that more cases of young people are popping up in Kern County.
"Medical experts used to think that children didn't get MS, but now many are being diagnosed. This helps raise awareness for pediatricians to look out for the disease," said Kim Kotrla of the National MS Society.
There are just under 1,000 MS cases in Kern County and 5 percent of those are in children. Two Bakersfield moms are speaking out about their daughters’ recent diagnoses.
"Now we are seeing more kids with this disease. We need more people digging in and looking into why this is happening," said Shelly Gilliland, whose 12-year-old daughter, Taylor Prather, was recently diagnosed.Joy Amaro's 14-year-old daughter Durer, was also recently diagnosed with MS.
Amaro said their medical specialist in San Francisco was shocked to hear that they were from Kern County, because they have had an increasing number of patients from this area.
ScienceDaily (May 25, 2011) — Vitamin D is important for optimal reproductive function in both animals and humans. It has long been known that serum vitamin D level is important for reproductive function in various animals, but now researchers from the University of Copenhagen and Copenhagen University Hospital have shown that this relationship can also be demonstrated in humans.