Omnicare denies kickback allegations, says price cuts were 'discounts'

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Price cuts given to Omnicare from a pharmaceutical company looking to boost antidepressant prescriptions in long-term care facilities were legal discounts, not kickbacks, the pharmacy giant argued Wednesday.

A lawsuit was filed in 2007 by former employees of drug manufacturer Organon, who claim Omnicare engaged in kickbacks by purchasing antidepressant Remeron from the company at a discounted price and then marketed the drug to physicians in long-term care settings. The suit also argues Omnicare submitted false claims to Medicaid as part of the alleged kickback scheme.

Attorneys for Omnicare told a federal judge Wednesday that the discounts were legal under a federal law that allows for discounts if they're disclosed to the government, Law360 reported. The company also maintains that no evidence exists that it tried to persuade physicians to prescribe Remeron.

“Everything was disclosed in the four corners of those agreements,” attorney Suzanne Jaffe Bloom said during a motion hearing for summary judgement. “There is absolutely not a shred of evidence of outside agreements.”

Attorneys for the employees said that disclosing discounts to the government doesn't mean they aren't fraudulent. Organon settled the case for $31 million in 2014.