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Minnesota recoups $3.1 million in fraud, deceptive marketing claims

File photo. Keith Ellison answers questions from the press after he kicks off a grass-roots door-knocking event at North Commons Park in Minneapolis, Friday, Aug. 17. Jean Pieri / St. Paul Pioneer Press

ST. PAUL — The Minnesota attorney general’s office said it has recouped $3.1 million after settling three multi-state, health care-related fraud and deceptive marketing claims involving two major brands, Walgreens and Johnson & Johnson.

The first settlement requires Walgreens to pay a collective $209 million to Minnesota, the other 49 states, the District of Columbia and the federal government to resolve allegations that it knowingly dispensed hundreds of thousands more insulin pens than needed to beneficiaries of Medicare, Medicaid and other federal healthcare programs, then improperly billed those programs for them. Minnesota’s Medicaid program will recover more than $761,000 in this settlement, the release from Keith Ellison’s office said.

The second settlement requires Walgreens to pay a collective $60 million to Minnesota, 38 other states, the District of Columbia and the federal government to resolve allegations that it over-billed Medicaid by failing to disclose to and charge Medicaid the lower drug prices that Walgreens offered the public through a discount program. Minnesota’s Medicaid program will recoup more than $212,000 in this settlement, Ellison’s office said.

In the third settlement, Ellison and 45 other attorneys general reached a $120 million settlement with Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiary, DePuy, to resolve allegations that DePuy used “unfair and deceptive” practices to make misleading claims about the longevity of its metal-on-metal hip-implant devices.

The attorneys general said the devices failed faster than the company claimed. Some people required hip-implant revision surgeries and experienced pain, allergic reactions and other medical conditions.

The settlements were announced Thursday, Jan. 24.

“Part of being able to afford your life is being able to trust that healthcare companies are being honest with you,” Ellison said. “In these cases, we succeeded in holding two companies accountable for fraud and deceptive practices that cost people money and resulted in pain and extra medical procedures.”

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