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Rutledge Urges Congress to Pass Act Giving Law Enforcement Ability to Locate Cell Phones of Victims in Grave Danger

Rutledge Urges Congress to Pass Act Giving Law Enforcement Ability to Locate Cell Phones of Victims in Grave Danger

Wed, Oct 30, 2019

Rutledge Urges Congress to Pass Act Giving Law Enforcement Ability to Locate Cell Phones of Victims in Grave Danger

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge is urging Congress to enact the Kelsey Smith Act. The legislation will provide law enforcement officers nationwide with the ability to locate the cell phones of individuals believed to be in serious danger of bodily harm or death.

“We must give our law enforcement the tools they need to keep our communities safe especially when our loved ones are in grave danger,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansas and Kansas were both early adopters of the Kelsey Smith Act, which gave law enforcement the rapid response resources to quickly locate victims’ cell phones during an emergency when their lives are at risk.”

Rutledge and Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt jointly sent a letter urging the Kelsey Smith Act’s passage to the U. S. Senate Committee on Commerce, Science and Transportation and the U.S. House Committee on Energy and Commerce. The legislation is sponsored by Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Rep. Ron Estes, R-Kan. and would require cell phone providers to turn over geographic location information to law enforcement officers in emergency situations.

Currently, no emergency location requirement exists in federal law, and cell phone providers are free to withhold the information absent a state requirement. Kansas and Arkansas are two of 24 states that have adopted versions of the law at the state level.

The bill draws its title from the case of 18-year-old Kelsey Smith, who was raped and murdered after being abducted in broad daylight outside a big-box retail store in Overland Park in 2007. Law enforcement officials and Smith’s family requested her cell service provider disclose geographic coordinates, but were denied for several days absent a legal requirement to compel the information. Eventually, the provider agreed to turn over the coordinates and law enforcement found Smith’s body within 45 minutes about 20 miles from where she was abducted.

For more information, a copy of the letter can be viewed here.

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Rutledge Statement on Passing of State Representative John Walker

Rutledge Statement on Passing of State Representative John Walker

Mon, Oct 28, 2019

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge issued the following statement after the announcement of the death of long-time civil rights activist and Arkansas Representative John Walker.

“I was saddened to learn of the passing of Representative Walker,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Representative Walker was a tireless advocate on behalf of his clients and constituents, leaving a strong and lasting legacy with the State. He was also a man of deep faith, and I pray that faith gives comfort to his loved ones during this difficult time.”

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$700 Million International Pharmaceutical Company Settlement Reached

$700 Million International Pharmaceutical Company Settlement Reached

Thu, Oct 24, 2019

Says ‘This corporation has double-dipped the Medicaid system by deceptively advertising to physicians’

LITTLE ROCK - Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced Arkansas has reached a multistate agreement in principle with the pharmaceutical distributor Reckitt Benckiser Group (Reckitt). The agreement settles allegations that the company improperly marketed or otherwise promoted the drug Suboxone, resulting in improper expenditures of state Medicaid funds.

“Arkansans have suffered enough at the hands of opioid distributors like Reckitt,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This corporation has double-dipped the Medicaid system by deceptively advertising to physicians that Suboxone is safe, and subsequently received Medicaid reimbursements for the falsely-marketed drug.”

The England-based company had, until December 23, 2014, a subsidiary named Reckitt Benckiser Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (RPI). RPI distributed, marketed and sold Suboxone in the United States. The drug contains a combination of buprenorphine (an opioid) and naloxone (an opioid antagonist) and was approved to suppress opioid withdrawal symptoms as part of a complete treatment plan to include counseling and psychosocial support. Used alone however, this drug has resulted in opioid addiction.

Reckitt will pay a total of $700 million dollars in resolution of various civil fraud allegations impacting Medicaid and other government healthcare programs, of which more than $400 million will go into the Medicaid program. The total Medicaid settlement for Arkansas is $462,948.97.

Additionally, Reckitt will enter into a separate non-prosecution agreement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Western District of Virginia and the U.S. Department of Justice’s Consumer Protection Branch.

The federal and state civil settlements will resolve the following allegations:

  • That Reckitt directly or through its subsidiaries knowingly promoted the sale and use of Suboxone to physicians who were writing prescriptions:
    • To patients without any counseling or psychosocial support
    • For uses that were unsafe, ineffective, and medically unnecessary
  • That Reckitt directly or through its subsidiaries knowingly promoted the sale or use of Suboxone Sublingual Film based on:
    • False and misleading claims that Suboxone Sublingual Film was less subject to diversion and abuse than other buprenorphine products
    • Suboxone Sublingual Film was less susceptible to accidental pediatric exposure than Suboxone Sublingual Tablets. Physicians relied on these false and misleading claims in prescribing Suboxone Sublingual Film, and state Medicaid agencies relied on these false and misleading claims in making authorization decisions.
  • That Reckitt directly or through its subsidiaries knowingly submitted a petition to the Food and Drug Administration on September 25, 2012, fraudulently claiming that Suboxone Sublingual Tablet had been discontinued “due to safety concerns” about the tablet formulation of the drug and took other steps to fraudulently delay the entry of generic competition for various forms of Suboxone in order to improperly control pricing of Suboxone, including pricing to federal healthcare programs.

To submit a consumer complaint or learn more about Medicaid fraud-related issues, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s office at (800) 482-8982, email consumer@arkansasag.gov or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

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Rutledge Holds Office Hours in all 75 Counties Serving Thousands in Person

Rutledge Holds Office Hours in all 75 Counties Serving Thousands in Person

Wed, Oct 23, 2019

Says, ‘Meeting people where they are and as they are’

MOUNT IDA – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge held office hours in Montgomery County yesterday, concluding record attendance for the fifth consecutive year as she has hosted mobile offices in all 75 counties.

“Meeting people where they are and as they are is a priority of mine,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Filing a complaint against a bad business or getting information to make the right decision for the longterm care of a loved one should not require an all day trip to our offices in Little Rock or Northwest Arkansas but rather we will come to you and do the fighting for you.”

In 2019, 2,232 Arkansans visited an Attorney General Mobile Office. Mobile offices provide a county-by-county location to personally assist consumers in filing consumer complaints and answer questions about the full range of services provided by the Attorney General’s Office.

Attorney General Rutledge created the mobile office initiative in May 2015 so that her office and staff would be accessible to everyone. After the success of the initiative in 2015, Rutledge expanded to include Prescription Drug Take Back boxes during each visit. The office collaborates with local law enforcement agencies across the State to handle a secure box and properly dispose of the prescriptions collected. Since the addition of this service, the boxes have allowed authorities to properly dispose of nearly 620 pounds of old or unused medications.

For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s Office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call (800) 482-8982.

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Rutledge Opens Investigation of Facebook for Antitrust Violations

Rutledge Opens Investigation of Facebook for Antitrust Violations

Tue, Oct 22, 2019

Says, ‘Major tech platforms like Facebook have thrived on the public’s willingness to share their personal information’

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced a bipartisan investigation by 47 state attorneys general into Facebook for antitrust violations. The multistate investigation will concentrate on potential anticompetitive business practices stemming from Facebook’s dominance in the industry.

“Major tech platforms like Facebook have thrived on the public’s willingness to share their personal information and preferences,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This investigation is a deeper dive into the business practices used by Facebook to determine whether it has committed any violations of antitrust laws.”

In September, Attorney General Rutledge announced an antitrust investigation into whether Google conducts its business practices in accordance with State and federal antitrust laws. A bipartisan coalition of 50 attorneys general plan to collaborate with federal authorities to investigate the tech giant’s overarching control of online advertising markets and search traffic that may constitute anticompetitive behavior that harms Arkansas consumers.

Attorney General Rutledge joins the bipartisan investigation being led by New York Attorney General Letitia James. The investigation now includes the attorneys general of Arizona, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the District of Columbia and the territory of Guam, in addition to a number of other states that cannot confirm its participation in pending investigations.

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Conway Eye Doctor’s Wife & Office Manager Arrested for Medicaid Fraud

Conway Eye Doctor’s Wife & Office Manager Arrested for Medicaid Fraud

Tue, Oct 22, 2019

Suspect admitted to knowingly submitting illegal Medicaid claims

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the charge and arrest of a Conway eye doctor’s employee for stealing an estimated $600,000 from the Arkansas Medicaid Program over a four-year period.

“Medicaid funds are crucial to assist some of our most vulnerable Arkansans,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The bad actors who defraud taxpayers must be held accountable.”

Karen Todd, 52, of Conway was arrested on one count of Medicaid Fraud, Class A Felony. During the time of the investigation, Todd was the office manager of Todd Eye Clinic and the wife of Dr. Charles Todd, Jr. Upon arrest, Todd admitted to purposely submitting fraudulent claims that were thousands of dollars over the actual billable amount.

The Attorney General’s office was assisted in this investigation by the Conway Police Department. The charges were filed in Faulkner County Circuit Court and will be prosecuted in cooperation with the Office of the Twentieth Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Carol Crews.

Medicaid fraud occurs when Medicaid providers use the program to obtain money for which they are not entitled. To report suspected fraud, contact the Arkansas Attorney General’s Office at (800) 482-8982 or visit ArkansasAG.gov.

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