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Van Hollen Announces Settlement With EMD Serono


MADISON — Attorney General J. B. Van Hollen today announced a settlement that calls for the state to receive $281,818.91 from EMD Serono as part of a total $568,153.76 attributable to Wisconsin Medicaid to resolve allegations that EMD Serono paid illegal inducements to physicians to write prescriptions for the drug Rebif.


Medicaid is a medical assistance program for the needy jointly funded by the federal and state governments. Rebif is an interferon beta-1a drug injected subcutaneously to treat relapsing forms of multiple sclerosis (MS), a chronic autoimmune disease that attacks the central nervous system, in order to reduce the number of flare-ups and slow down the development of physical disability associated with MS.


Van Hollen explained that Medicaid payments to the states and federal government total $19.4 million as a component of the comprehensive resolution for $44.3 million. The remainder includes payment for federal programs, including Medicare and TRICARE.


During the period of March 2002 through December 2009, EMD Serono offered and paid remuneration to health care professionals for activities such as promotional speaking engagements, attending speaker training, advisory and consultant meetings, educational grants, and charitable contributions. Wisconsin alleged that at least one purpose of these payments was to induce those professionals to prescribe Rebif.


“We'll continue to do all we can to protect taxpayer dollars,” said Van Hollen. “The use of illegal incentives is unfair to taxpayers, other vendors, and those who truly need medical assistance. We intend to hold accountable those who would exploit limited government resources.”