Today Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell applauded the efforts of the U.S. Department of Justice in obtaining a guilty plea by drug giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK). Caldwell is seeking justice for Louisiana citizens through a separate suit brought by the attorney general’s office in state court alleging numerous state law violations. The trial is currently set to begin in the 19th Judicial District Court on October 23.
“Today’s admission of guilt by GlaxoSmithKline is a huge victory in holding this company accountable for its fraudulent business practices,” said Caldwell. “We decided to take an independent path in order vindicate the interests of Louisiana’s citizens and its Medicaid program. Today’s outcome reinforces our efforts.”
Caldwell’s pending state court lawsuit claims that GSK wrongfully and illegally marketed, priced, sold and promoted the diabetes medication Avandia violating Louisiana’s Medical Assistance Programs Integrity Law (MAPIL), the Louisiana Unfair Trade Practices and Consumer Protections Law and other state laws. Caldwell said that Louisiana’s Medicaid program paid GSK approximately $36 million for fraudulently induced Avandia reimbursements.
“I am deeply committed to pursuing those who prey on our citizens and our state Medicaid program. This type of exploitation jeopardizes our economy, our health and in some cases our lives. Our focus on these perpetrators sends a message of zero tolerance for such fraud and abuse.”
As part of today’s settlement with the U.S. Justice Department, GSK agreed to plead guilty to a three-count criminal information, including two counts of introducing misbranded drugs, Paxil and Wellbutrin, into interstate commerce and one count of failing to report safety data about the drug Avandia to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Under the terms of the plea agreement, GSK will pay a total of $1 billion, including a criminal fine of $956,814,400 and forfeiture in the amount of $43,185,600.