The State of Louisiana has filed a lawsuit against 38 pharmaceutical companies it claims received Medicaid reimbursement for drugs that were never approved by the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA). The lawsuit alleges the drug makers used phony National Drug Codes (NDC) to trick the state into certifying the drugs as eligible for reimbursement under Louisiana Medicaid, and put patients at risk because of potentially unsafe drugs.

According to complaint allegations, the codes were used to file reimbursement claims for over-the-counter medications like cough medicine and dietary supplements, and unapproved prescription medications. Because the state’s health agencies do not have access to the FDA approval process, they remained unaware for years that reimbursement claims had been falsified.

The lawsuit accuses the pharmaceutical companies of violating the state’s Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protection Law and Medical Assistance Programs Integrity Law. It seeks to hold the companies liable for fraud, negligent misrepresentation, unjust enrichment, and redhibition, which is a Louisiana legal statute that protects consumers who purchase allegedly defective products. The complaint notes that a series of qui tam whistleblower complaints brought the fraudulent scheme to the attention of federal authorities.

Lawyers in our firm’s Consumer Fraud Section are representing the State of Louisiana in this lawsuit against the drug companies. The case is State of Louisiana v. Abbott Laboratories Inc. et al., in the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Louisiana. If you would like more information about this case, contact Dee Miles, the head of our Consumer Fraud Section, who will lead the litigation effort, at 800-898-2034 or Dee.Miles@beasleyallen.com.

Source: Law360.com

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