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Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Florida Settles with Maker of Topamax Epileptic Drug

Medically supervised drug treatment facilities use a number of medications to help the patient make a more successful recovery. Often times, underneath the the addiction lives some kind of disorder that needs to be addressed if recovery is going to take place. Anxiety, depression, and bipolar disorder are three very common ailments that addicts struggle with commonly; removing drugs and alcohol from the picture is one thing, controlling a mental illness adds a completely different element to recovery.

Over the past decade doctors have found that there are a number of drugs that are typically prescribed for something other than a mental illness, yet, they have properties that may be effective for recovering addicts. The more uses a drug has, the more lucrative a drug will become for a drug company. Unfortunately, some drug companies have begun advertising that their drugs help with disorders common in the drug and alcohol addiction field when they actually do not. One such drug is Topamax, meant for treating epileptic seizures; the drug was advertised by its maker to help with bipolar disorder and drug and alcohol addiction when it did not. This was an attempt by the drug maker to have a more lucrative product and their plan backfired on them.

Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals has been ordered to pay a total of $51 million to Florida and other state Medicaid programs, which paid for more Topamax prescriptions than necessary. The makers of Topamax marketed their drug for uses that had not been approved by the FDA.

Florida will distribute its portion of the $51 Million as follows:
  • $383,000 to the state Medicaid program
  • $691,000 to the general revenue fund
  • $77,000 to the Attorney General's Medicaid Fraud Informant Program (they reward individuals who report information that leads to convictions for Medicaid fraud

The rest of the $3 million will be paid to reimburse the federal portion of the state's Medicaid program.

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