United States v. Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc.
In September 2007, Aventis Pharmaceuticals Inc. (now known as Sanofi-Aventis SA) paid $190 million to the United States, a number of states and the District of Columbia to settle a qui tam lawsuit alleging that the company caused false claims to be filed with Medicare and other federal health care programs in connection with fraudulent pricing and marketing of its drugs.
The case involved the company’s reporting falsely inflated prices to the federal and state governments for its anti-nausea drug, Anzemet, used primarily in conjunction with oncology and radiation treatment. While knowing that the federal and state health care programs reimbursed providers based on those prices, Aventis used the spread or difference between the prices reported and the actual prices charged to providers in order to market, promote and sell Anzemet to providers. Through this scheme, Aventis caused the federal and state governments to overpay in reimbursement for Anzemet.
The investigation of Aventis began after the filing of a qui tam suit by a whistleblower represented by Berger Montague’s Whistleblower/Qui Tam Group. For bringing the fraud to the attention of the government, the whistleblower received $32 million as its share of the $190 million settlement.