Rutledge Files Suit Against Drug Makers for Anti-Trust ViolationsTue, Jul 18, 2017
Says, ‘The dishonest actions of these drug manufacturers not only disrupts the marketplace but harms patients’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has joined with three other states and the District of Columbia in filing a lawsuit in federal court alleging that six generic drug makers, including Aurobindo Pharma USA Inc., Citron Pharma LLC, Heritage Pharmaceuticals Inc., Mayne Pharma (USA) Inc., Mylan Pharmaceuticals Inc. and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc., entered into unlawful agreements in order to restrain trade, artificially inflate and manipulate prices and reduce competition throughout the country for two generic drugs.
“The dishonest actions of these drug manufacturers not only disrupts the marketplace but harms patients,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans who need access to these life-saving medications deserve an honest deal – something these drug makers failed to do.”
In July 2014, Connecticut initiated an investigation regarding suspicious price increases of certain generic pharmaceuticals. The investigation, which is still ongoing as to a number of additional generic drugs, generic drug companies and key executives, uncovered evidence of a well-coordinated and long-running conspiracy to fix prices and allocate markets for doxycycline hyclate delayed release (an antibiotic) and glyburide (an oral diabetes medication).
Today’s complaint alleges that the defendants routinely coordinated their schemes through direct interaction with their competitors at industry trade shows, customer conferences and other events, as well as through direct email, phone and text message communication. The alleged anticompetitive conduct – including efforts to fix and maintain prices, allocate markets and otherwise thwart competition – caused significant, harmful and continuing effects in the country’s health care system.
The states further allege that the drug companies knew that their conduct was illegal and made efforts to avoid communicating with each other in writing or, in some instances, to delete written communication after becoming aware of the investigation.
The states are asking the court to enjoin the companies from engaging in illegal, anticompetitive behavior and for equitable relief, including substantial financial relief, to address the violations of law and restore competition.
The lawsuit was filed under seal in the U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut. Portions of the complaint are redacted in order to avoid compromising the ongoing investigation. In addition to Rutledge, the four others filing suit are the District of Columbia, Missouri, New Mexico and Virginia.
Forty other states have filed separately bringing the total number of states involved in litigation against these companies to forty-four.
Rutledge Announces Arrest of Two Central Arkansas Women for Medicaid FraudThu, Jul 13, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the arrest of a Pulaski County woman and a Garland County woman.
Jene Wyatt, 38, of Little Rock, was arrested and released from the Pulaski County Detention Facility. Wyatt is charged with one count of Medicaid fraud, a Class C felony. She is accused of billing for services not rendered, totaling $1,438.56 in November and December 2016.
Lois Fields, 41, of Malvern, was arrested and released from the Pulaski County Detention Facility. Fields is charged with Medicaid fraud, a Class B felony. She is accused of billing $5,833.56 for services not rendered as an adult companion between October 2015 and February 2016.
Both cases were referred to the Attorney General’s office by the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General.
These arrests were part of the largest ever health care fraud enforcement action by the Medicare Fraud Strike Force, involving 412 charged defendants across 41 federal districts, including 115 doctors, nurses and other licensed medical professionals, for their alleged participation in health care fraud schemes involving approximately $1.3 billion in false billings. Arkansas’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit was one of 30 units participating in today’s action.
The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operations are part of a joint initiative between the Department of Justice and the Department of Health and Human Services to focus their efforts to prevent and deter fraud and enforce current anti-fraud laws around the country. The Medicare Fraud Strike Force operates in nine locations nationwide. Since its inception in 2007, the Medicare Fraud Strike Force has charged more than 3,500 defendants who collectively have falsely billed the Medicare program for over $12.5 billion.
Medicaid fraud occurs when providers use the Medicaid program to obtain money to which they are not entitled. To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, contact the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or email@example.com.
Rutledge Statement on CFPB’s New Arbitration RuleTue, Jul 11, 2017
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today issued a statement regarding the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau’s (CFPB) rule to prevent companies from using arbitration clauses.
“The CFPB claims to protect consumers, but in reality this new rule only serves to benefit the profits of class action trial attorneys,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “This rule will rip the benefits of arbitration to settle disputes outside of court right out from under Arkansans and lead to a flood of costly, lengthy litigation. Congress should begin a process in earnest to rescind this anti-consumer rule.”
Rutledge Raises Awareness of Arkansas’s Missing Persons at Never ForgottenMon, Jul 10, 2017
Benton Chief Kirk Lane receives Morgan’s Choice Award and Criminal Justice Institute receives Star of Excellence Award
BENTON – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today hosted the sixth annual Never Forgotten – Arkansas Takes Action event at the Benton Event Center. The daylong event helps raise awareness of issues surrounding missing persons and recognizes Arkansas’s missing children and adults.
“Time will never heal the hurt and uncertainty these families feel every hour of every day,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “But it is my mission each year that these families walk away from the Never Forgotten event with a sense of support that their state and members of law enforcement have not and will not ever forget their loved one.”
Wayne Ruthven, a consultant with the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), provided law enforcement officers with an update on a program being created to coordinate efforts to assist children who become separated from their families as a result of a disaster. The Attorney General’s office and several other Arkansas agencies meet monthly to develop an action plan, coordinated by the Arkansas Department of Human Services, as part of a pilot program.
“Under the leadership of the Arkansas Mass Care Coordinator, Edwin Lyons, and the Department of Human Services, NCMEC is supporting a great group of stakeholder representatives from a number of state, federal and local agencies working diligently to develop a children's disaster reunification plan for Arkansas which can also be a model for states nationwide,” said Ruthven. “These partners represent governmental, volunteer, private and other non-governmental organizations. Quickly reunifying children with their parents or guardians may reduce the overall trauma to a child associated with a disaster and its aftermath. Also, children who become separated from parents or guardians amidst the chaos of a disaster may be susceptible to kidnapping, abuse, and, in the most extreme cases, trafficking and exploitation. NCMEC is honored and privileged to be a part of this challenging and important program in Arkansas.”
Officers also heard from Gay Smither, president of the Laura Recovery Center. Smither’s 12-year-old daughter, Laura, went missing during a jog in Friendswood, Texas, on April 3, 1997. Her body was located 17 days later. Laura’s death led to the creation of the Laura Recovery Center, an organization that helps families and law enforcement agencies on missing child cases. The center has assisted with more than 1,700 cases and participated in more than 100 active searches. William Reece was indicted Sept. 1, 2016, in the deaths of Laura and 17-year-old Jessica Cain, who disappeared Aug. 17, 1997.
"Never give up hope. Never give up searching for missing children. Never give up seeking justice," said Smither.
The officer training session concluded with a presentation from Lori Mcllwain, co-founder of the National Autism Association. Mcllwain discussed autism, including a brief overview of Autism Spectrum Disorder, wandering and its unique dangers. Best practices for prevention and response to reduce risk were also discussed, along with findings and insights from six years of autism and wandering data.
“We’re grateful for the opportunity to bring attention to the critical issue of autism-related wandering/elopement,” said Mcllwain. “Each year in the U.S., hundreds of children and adults with autism go missing from their homes, schools and residential facilities. Yet, many of these individuals cannot speak, call out for help or answer to their name. With awareness and education, we can work to reduce these incidents, and the tragic consequences that often follow.”
At the same time as the law enforcement session, a panel discussion was held for the families of missing persons on available resources to assist them with locating their loved one. Participating agencies included Arkansas State Police, Arkansas State Crime Lab, Arkansas Crime Information Center, FBI, National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the National Missing and Unidentified Missing Persons System.
A luncheon was hosted by Rutledge to honor the families of the missing and thank law enforcement for assisting in missing persons cases. The event also provided support and networking opportunities for families still searching and for those who have tragically lost loved ones.
During the luncheon, the Morgan’s Choice Award, named for Morgan Nick who went missing in 1995, was presented to Benton Police Chief Kirk Lane for his part in the Rock One Sock campaign and use of social media to show support for missing children and their families. The Star of Excellence Award was presented to the University of Arkansas Criminal Justice Institute for its work to form Child Abduction Response Teams (CART), which brings a multi-disciplinary approach to responding to a missing or abducted child incident, across the state. Team participants include representatives from the Arkansas State Police, local and county law enforcement, FBI, probation and parole, victim advocates, social service agencies, emergency management personnel, school personnel and other key agencies.
Last year, Rutledge was part of a collaborative effort to launch a new website, NeverForgotten.ar.gov, which enables the public to access information on missing persons cases with an easy-to-use searchable database.
The Attorney General’s office serves as an information clearinghouse for reports on Arkansas’s missing children and acts as the main point of contact for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
To reach the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children CyberTipline, call (800) THE-LOST (843-5678).
Rutledge Welcomes Summer InternsFri, Jul 7, 2017
Says, ‘Interns have the opportunity to obtain crucial experiences through service-learning’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has welcomed 12 students from across the State into the Attorney General’s office internship program.
“Interns have the opportunity to obtain crucial experiences through service-learning,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Interning in the public sector provides new educational opportunities for undergraduate and graduate students. It is a privilege to have some of the brightest young people in Arkansas join the Attorney General’s office for the summer session.”
Jack Cain is a sophomore at the University of Arkansas studying political science. Cain is from Searcy where he graduated from Harding Academy in 2016.
Jackson Chance is a junior in high school planning to study political science in college. Chance is from Little Rock where he is homeschooled and will graduate in 2019.
Colton Fisher is a sophomore at the University of Arkansas studying political science. Fisher is from Little Rock where he graduated from Little Rock Christian Academy in 2016.
Claire Frueauff is a senior at Hendrix College studying political science. Frueauff is from Little Rock where she graduated from Parkview High School in 2014.
Jacob Gibson is a senior at the University of Arkansas studying criminal justice. Gibson is from Vilonia where he graduated from Vilonia High School in 2013.
Grace Hambuchen is a junior at Saint Louis University studying political science. Hambuchen is from Maumelle where she graduated from Mount St. Mary Academy in 2015.
Sam Harper is a sophomore at the University of Arkansas studying political science. Harper is from Hazen where he graduated from Hazen High School in 2016.
Cole Jester is a junior at Ouachita Baptist University studying political science, Christian studies and philosophy. Jester is from Benton where he graduated from Benton High School in 2015.
Randall King graduated from Hendrix College where he majored in political science. King is from Dallas where he graduated from MacArthur High School in 2013.
Andrew Manning is a junior at the University of Arkansas studying political science. Manning is from Little Rock where he graduated from the Catholic High School for Boys in 2015.
Ben Thomas is a senior at Christian Life College studying theology. Thomas is from Cabot and graduated from Vilonia High School in 2014.
Anna Toepfer is a sophomore at the University of Arkansas studying psychology. Toepfer is from Little Rock where she graduated from Episcopal Collegiate School in 2016.
Rutledge Announces Malvern Woman Sentenced for Medicaid FraudThu, Jul 6, 2017
Says, ‘Wendy Beasley took advantage of the Medicaid system’
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced the conviction of a Hot Spring County woman for Medicaid fraud. Wendy Beasley pleaded guilty in Pulaski County Circuit Court and was sentenced to three years probation. She will pay $1,080 in restitution to the Arkansas Medicaid Program and a $3,240 fine and court costs in the criminal case.
“Wendy Beasley took advantage of the Medicaid system,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “My staff of attorneys and investigators diligently work to investigate and prosecute people like Beasley, who is now required to pay the money back to the Arkansas Medicaid Program.”
Beasley, 46, of Malvern pleaded guilty to Medicaid fraud, a Class C felony, for billing the Arkansas Medicaid Program for services not rendered from March to May 2016. The fraudulent bills include those submitted for work she claimed was done while she was incarcerated on other charges.
The case was initiated by a referral from the Office of the Medicaid Inspector General and was prosecuted in coordination with the 6th Judicial District Prosecuting Attorney Larry Jegley.
To report Medicaid fraud or abuse or neglect in residential care facilities, complete the online form at ArkansasAG.gov, call the Attorney General’s Medicaid fraud hotline at (866) 810-0016 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.