United Therapeutics (NSDQ:UTHR) has agreed to pay $210 million to squash claims that it used a charity to illegally cover Medicare patients’ out-of-pocket costs in an attempt to boost sales.
Drug companies are not allowed to subsidize co-pays for people enrolled in Medicare, but they can donate to independent non-profits that provide co-pay assistance.
The settlement revealed that from 2010 to 2014, United Therapeutics made donations to a payment-assistance group called the Caring Voice Coalition. According to the agreement, the drug company received data from Caring Voice Coalition showing how many patients were using United Therapeutics’ blood pressure drugs. That data ultimately determined how much money the pharma company would donate back to the Virginia-based foundation.
A company spokesman told Reuters that the company was glad to see the investigation settled. United Therapeutics disclosed earlier this year that it had the $210 million set aside specifically for the investigation.
Last month, the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services’ Office of Inspector General told Caring Voice Coalition that the foundation would lose its authorization.
Caring Voice Coalition is reportedly evaluating its options and will make a choice about its future in January, according to Reuters.
United’s settlement is the first in an industry-wide probe that includes pharma giants like Pfizer (NYSE:PFE) and Johnson & Johnson (NYSE:JNJ).
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