(Adds background about case and prior related settlements)
By Sarah N. Lynch
WASHINGTON Oct 17 Omnicare Inc, the largest
nursing home pharmacy in the United States, will pay about $28.1
million to resolve civil charges that it sought and received
kickbacks from Abbott Laboratories to promote the drug
maker's anti-seizure drug Depakote, the U.S. Justice Department
Omnicare was acquired by CVS Health Corp in 2015,
about six years after Omnicare put a stop to the conduct at the
heart of Monday's settlement, the Justice Department added.
A CVS spokesperson did not immediately respond to a request
for comment on Monday's settlement.
The Justice Department said Omnicare disguised the kickbacks
it received from Abbott by claiming they were "grants" and
Those payments, however, were part of a plan by the drug
maker to get physicians to prescribe Depakote to elderly nursing
home patients. Omnicare solicited the payments via its "Re*View"
program, which in internal documents it called its "one extra
script per patient" program.
Abbott Laboratories entered into a $1.5 billion global civil
and criminal resolution in May 2012 that resolved its liability
for violations of the False Claims Act for paying alleged
kickbacks to Omnicare as well as PharMerica Corp.
In October 2015, PharMerica agreed to pay $9.25 million to
resolve its role in receiving kickbacks from Abbott Labs.
The Justice Department said $20.3 million of its settlement
with Omnicare will be paid in restitution to U.S. government
health insurance programs, while the remaining $7.8 million will
be allocated to cover Medicaid program claims by states.
The settlements with Omnicare, Abbott Labs and PharMerica
will resolve allegations in two lawsuits filed by former Abbott
Lab employees who blew the whistle on the kickbacks.
One of those whistleblowers, Meredith McCoyd, will receive a
$3 million payout for her role in helping uncover the scheme,
the Justice Department said.
(Reporting by Sarah N. Lynch, Editing by Franklin Paul)