Drugmaker Johnson & Johnson paid millions of dollars in kickback payments, including disguised pay-offs, to nursing home pharmacy company Omnicare Inc to prescribe its drugs to patients, U.S. federal attorneys alleged on Friday.
“Kickbacks such as those alleged here distort the judgments of health care professionals and put profits ahead of sound medical treatment,” said Tony West, Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division of the Department of Justice in a released statement.
The U.S. Department of Justice filed suit today in the District of Massachusetts against J&J and two of its subsidiaries, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharaceuticals Inc. and Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems Inc.
Last November, Omnicare agreed to settle charges for $98 million with the U.S. and various states.
The U.S. alleges J&J paid the kickbacks from 1999 to 2004 in three different ways: by boosting rebates in exchange for programs that promoted drug prescriptions; paying for “data” which Omnicare never gave; and issuing kickbacks disguised as “grants” and “educational funding.”
A J&J spokesperson told Bloomberg its actions were lawful and appropriate, adding that the company is reviewing the complaint and would address the suit in court.