PharMerica agrees to $9.25 million settlement

The settlement will resolve allegations that PharMerica received kickbacks to promote Depakote
The settlement will resolve allegations that PharMerica received kickbacks to promote Depakote

Institutional long-term care pharmacy services provider PharMerica Corp. will pay $9.25 million to settle allegations that it solicited and received kickbacks, the Department of Justice announced Wednesday.

The settlement resolves claims included in a 2007 whistleblower lawsuit that alleged PharMerica received kickbacks from pharmaceutical manufacturer Abbott Laboratories, in exchange for promoting use of the drug Depakote for nursing home residents. The suit was filed by Meredith McCoyd, a former Abbott sales representative. Depakote is given to treat seizures and mood disorders.

Initial claims against Abbott were settled for $1.6 billion in 2012, while claims against individual pharmacies have been settled separately. Omnicare, the nation's largest nursing home pharmacy, settled with the DOJ in July.

"This case highlights mismanagement of medical care for the nation's elderly,” said Reuben Guttman, one of the lawyers who represents McCoyd, in a statement. “It is really a case about paying to put drugs in the bodies of patients who were without the ability to engage in informed consent."

An estimated $7.6 million of the settlement will go to the federal government, with an additional $2.5 million going to cover Medicare claims made by states participating in the settlement.