Medicare cracks down on false claims

October 23, 2009
Morgan Lewis Jr.
Morgan Lewis Jr.

Pfizer allegedly promoted four drugs for off-label indications and caused false claims to be submitted to government health care programs for uses that were not medically accepted indications and therefore not covered by those programs.

A $2.3 billion settlement in September between drugmaker Pfizer and the Department of Justice over illegal marketing practices underscores a recent campaign by government agencies to investigate false claims made to Medicare and Medicaid, according to health care attorneys.

Pfizer allegedly promoted four drugs – Bextra, Geodon, Zyvox and Lyrica – for off-label indications and caused false claims to be submitted to government health care programs for uses that were not medically accepted indications and therefore not covered by those programs, according to the Department of Justice.

Giant pharmaceutical companies aren't the only targets of false claims investigations.

Armstrong advises practices to have a compliance program in place to catch potentially fraudulent claims.