For Immediate Release - November 23, 2009

Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office Reaches $4.25 Million Medicaid Fraud Settlement with Aventis

Funds Recovered from Drug Company to be Returned to state Medicaid Program

BOSTON - Massachusetts Attorney General Martha Coakley's Office has reached an agreement with Aventis, an international drug company and wholly-owned subsidiary of sanofi-aventis U.S., LLC., resolving allegations that between 1995 and 2000, Aventis and its corporate predecessors knowingly misreported best prices for the steroid-based anti-inflammatory nasal sprays Azmacort, Nasacort and Nasacort AQ. Under the terms of the settlement agreement, Aventis has paid $4.25 million to the Massachusetts Medicaid Program, which provides funds for health care products and services to eligible low-income individuals, including people with disabilities, children and elder citizens. The Massachusetts recovery is part of a national settlement that has returned $95.5 million of federal and state money to Medicaid programs across the country.

"This is a significant recovery for the Massachusetts Medicaid Program," Attorney General Martha Coakley said. "Aventis underpaid their rebates and overcharged the states for these products. This conduct will not be tolerated, and we will vigilantly enforce the law to maintain the integrity of our Medicaid program."

Under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Statute, Aventis was required to report to Medicaid the lowest, or "best" price that it charged commercial customers, and pay quarterly rebates to the Medicaid program based on those reported "best" prices.

As part of the settlement, Aventis Pharmaceutical's parent company, sanofi-aventis, has also entered into an Addendum to a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. Under the Addendum, sanofi-aventis is required to report certain best price information for drugs covered by Medicaid and other health care programs. The company was already under a corporate integrity agreement requiring it to report other pricing information to the government as a result of a prior drug pricing settlement concerning the company's drug Anzemet.

Attorney General Coakley's office served as lead representative and negotiator on behalf of the states involved in this settlement. The government entities involved in this multi-state agreement included the United States Attorneys' Office for the District of Massachusetts, the United States Department of Justice, the Office of Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, and representatives of the attorneys general of the states of Nebraska and the District of Columbia.

Assistant Attorney General Ann B. Ackil of Attorney General Coakley's Medicaid Fraud Division served as principal negotiator on behalf of the states in this national settlement. She was assisted by Assistant Attorneys General and data analysts from Nebraska and the District of Columbia.

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