Week in Review, January 14, 2013

The PharmaCertify™ Team

Achoo! Sniffle…Cough…Cough. Hearing a lot of that these days? The seasonal flu is at a full on charge, and the vaccine is in shortage in some areas. The best thing to do these days is wash your hands often and invest in facial tissue manufacturers! While you get your broker on the line and sanitize your keyboard, take your mind off the germs and catch up on the week that was in this week’s News Week in Review.

The FDA may be cutting short sleep time for women dealing with the flu, especially for those who are taking drugs containing the active ingredient, zolpiden. Clinical studies found that even after a good night’s sleep, levels of the drug were high enough to cause impairment the next day. The FDA is requiring the recommended dosage for women be cut in half and the labels changed for any products containing the ingredient.

The Texas Medicaid system received a $36 million shot in the arm from Pfizer and Endo when the companies reached a settlement in a Medicaid fraud case. The companies were accused of misreporting prices of generic drugs to the Texas Medicaid system. Each company will pay just over $18 million plus attorney’s fee.

The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear arguments in the case of the Federal Trade Commission vs. Watson Pharmaceuticals Inc., which deals with whether reverse payments violate anti-trust laws. “Reverse payments” arise when a company holding a patent pays a generic company to stay out of the market for a period of time. Arguments are scheduled for late March.

It’ll take more than some Vitamin C and chicken soup to cure what is ailing a group of pharmaceutical executives in S. Korea. A group of current and former executives from the country’s largest pharmaceutical firm, Dong-A, were indicted for providing kickbacks to hospitals and clinics. The group is accused of providing $500,000 in goods and services, which included the remodeling of a hospital.

Apparently, Google may have passed a “virus” to UPS and FedEx. The two carriers find themselves in the throes of an investigation for their part in aiding and abetting the illegal sale of drugs by online pharmacies. Google settled similar charges in 2011, and some believe UPS will settle again. FedEx will fight the charges saying, “settlement is not an option when there is no illegal activity.”

You know what else is as widespread as the flu? Answer: False Claims Act recoveries. And by “widespread” we mean record breaking. In fiscal year 2012, the government brought in an eye-popping $5 billion in FCA recoveries. This brings the four year recovery total to over $13 billion. The DOJ is devoting more resources to investigating and prosecuting fraud and whistleblower filings are on the rise, so the upward trend is likely to continue. Qui tam relators also did quite well in 2012, receiving $439 million in share awards.

That brings us to the end of this week’s Review. Speaking of under the weather – how is your compliance training curriculum feeling these days? Could it use a shot in the arm? A little refresher perhaps? PharmaCertify offers the custom and off-the-shelf training needed to help ensure your reps have access to critical compliance content, when and where they need it most – in the field and at their fingertips.

Have a great week everyone, go wash those hands, and we’ll see you back here next week!

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