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Developments in Nursing Home Medication Kickback Lawsuit

We have previously reported on a complaint that was recently filed against pharmaceutical giant Johnson & Johnson alleging that they paid millions of dollars so that more nursing home residents would receive prescriptions for their own drugs.

The Associated Press explains that the complaint filed by the US government and two whistleblowers at the company allege that Rispersal, the schizophrenic drug prescribed to those with early signs of Alzheimer’s, was illegally given to an increasing number of nursing home payments. The prescriptions were written by pharmacists for Omnicare Inc., which in turn received the payment from Johnson & Johnson.

The drug was eventually found to have increased the risk of death in dementia patients.

According to government lawyers, the anti-kickback law forbids contracts that create an agreement with strings attached, like this one between Johnson & Johnson and Omnicare. It is alleged that Omnicare faxed thousands of doctors asking them to switch patients onto Risperdal; they also visited nursing homes to promote the use of the drug. Between 1994 and 2004 the drug use increased by $90 million through Omnicare prescriptions alone.

This is the second leg of this case, as Omnicare already agreed to a $90 million settlement with the federal government and several states because of its liability in the matter. In the case against Johnson & Johnson, the company could ultimately be on the hook for hundreds of millions of dollars for false claims charged to Medicaid.

Our Chicago nursing home attorneys at Levin & Perconti continue to be shocked by the actions taken by so many that sacrifices senior nursing care for the sake of profit. There is a clear problem with elder care when the thousands of vulnerable residents are treated as pawns in games played by big business to boost their bottom line. When our nursing home lawyers hear repeated stories like this one, we become even more dedicated to the cause of spending each day to ensure that elder abuse is stamped out in all its forms.