Recently disclosed federal court filings have revealed settlement agreements between the U.S. Government and PhyAmerica Corp, a Louisville, Kentucky company that is the nation’s second-largest operator of institutional pharmacies. One of the lawsuits focused on the company’s widespread misuse of Depakote, a seizure drug. According to one news source, the complaint alleged the drug was routinely being prescribed to elderly patients off label to treat other ailments that would have been better treated with the approved medications.
According to the article, the company was allegedly encouraging doctors to prescribe the drug to patients off-label because of an agreement with the drug manufacturer that gave the defendant financial kickbacks for prescribing Depakote. These were kickbacks that they would not have gotten for prescribing drugs that were approved to treat the underlying conditions.
The vast majority of the patients being misprescribed the drugs had their care being financed by the federal government through Medicare and didn’t notice the increased costs, although Pharmerica Corp. allegedly helped to defraud the government out of billions of dollars by encouraging the prescription of Depakote off label.