Settlement Reached to Resolve Kickback Allegations Against a Pharmaceutical CompanyTue, Nov 3, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that Arkansas, along with all 50 States, the District of Columbia, the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units and the federal government have reached a $102 million settlement with Warner Chilcott PLC, a pharmaceutical company based in Ireland with U.S. headquarters in New Jersey.
The settlement resolves civil and criminal allegations that the company paid kickbacks to induce prescriptions of nine of its drugs and falsified health program coverage paperwork to ensure federal and State reimbursement, a violation of the False Claims Act.
“Arkansas will receive $129,923.34 from the multi-state settlement reached with Warner Chilcott,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The actions of this pharmaceutical company put patients at risk by encouraging doctors to prescribe their medications, in exchange for promotional speaking fees, honoraria and meals.”
Warner Chilcott violated the False Claims Act by paying kickbacks to doctors for prescribing Actonel, Asacol, Asacol HD, Atelvia, Doryx, Enablex, Estrace, Loestrin 24 Fe or Lo Loestrin.
The total Medicaid portion of the settlement is $10.6 million. Warner Chilcott will be permanently excluded from the Medicaid, Medicare and other federal health care programs, and the company has pleaded guilty to one felony count that alleged health care fraud.
ICYMI: One Victim is Too ManyThu, Oct 29, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Today, an op-ed written by Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge appeared in the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. The piece detailed actions Rutledge intends to take to raise awareness of and bring an end to domestic violence and sexual assault.
Brutal, shocking, terrible – three words to describe what Sheila from Harrison suffered. It is a tragic, all too common story that needs to be shared to help combat a growing crisis.
After years of violence, ridicule and living in constant fear for her life, Sheila bravely separated from her husband in an attempt to bring stability to her home and create a better life for her 13-year-old son. Sheila obtained an order of protection against her husband, but the separation brought more chaos. Over the next several weeks, Sheila was forced to call the police more than 15 times as her husband tormented her and their son. On Christmas Eve, things took a dangerous turn when Sheila’s husband returned to their home with a rifle. While her son escaped to safety and called the police, Sheila courageously confronted her husband once again. Tragically, Sheila’s husband fatally shot her before turning the gun on himself.
Sheila was one of nine confirmed homicides that were a result of domestic violence in Arkansas last year.
October is National Domestic Violence Awareness Month, and as Arkansas Attorney General, I am making a commitment to take action on behalf of victims like Sheila. While Arkansas is blessed with a network of prevention advocates, committed law enforcement officials and vocal legislators, who work tirelessly to help strengthen and empower victims of domestic violence, far too many incidents of domestic violence are unreported to local law enforcement. One in four women and one in seven men have experienced severe physical violence by an intimate partner. These are inexcusable acts, and even one victim of domestic violence or sexual assault is one too many.
Law enforcement officers are now required to provide “Laura’s Card” to domestic violence victims and their families as a means of providing them with information about available State and local resources. I strongly believe that “Laura’s Card” will be a life-saving resource for those seeking help, and I am committed to working with stakeholders to continue finding ways to make it a valuable tool to help victims and law enforcement by providing the card for Arkansas law enforcement agencies and domestic violence prevention advocates.
It is also important that we teach Arkansas's youth about creating healthy relationships and give them tips to avoid unhealthy and potentially destructive ones. We know that adult domestic violence and sexual assault often begin as teen dating violence. We need to help youth recognize that violent words and actions are tools an abusive partner uses to gain and maintain power and control over his or her dating partner.
As part of my commitment, the Attorney General’s office will establish an ongoing initiative to collaborate with educators and the Arkansas Department of Education. One of the first steps in this initiative will be regional “train the trainer” programs. By starting in schools, my office will help educators to fulfill the requirement of a new law, which requires Arkansas health teachers to provide dating violence awareness instruction in grades 7 through 12, and provide schools with the proper tools and materials to educate young people about warning signs and techniques to end dating abuse. Teaching teenagers how to handle dating violence and to create healthy relationships will go a long way in helping curb the constant cycle of teen dating violence leading to domestic violence.
But this is only the beginning of my commitment to using the resources of my office to end this terrible crisis in our State.
In the last decade, Arkansas has consistently ranked in or near the top 10 States with the highest incidence of domestic violence homicides. My goal is to change that. Arkansas youth will be taught how to have healthy relationships, victims of domestic violence will be provided resources to find the help they need and those who commit domestic violence acts will know that their actions will not be tolerated.
I ask that you join me in helping to share these messages about warning signs of dating violence with young people and advocate for Arkansans in domestic violence circumstances so that those like Sheila’s son do not have to grow up without a loving mom anymore.
Rutledge Joins Challenge to the EPA’s Ozone RuleWed, Oct 28, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that she has joined a multistate lawsuit challenging the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) rule that will lower the current National Ambient Air Quality Standards for Ozone from 75 parts per billion to 70 parts per billion.
“The current standard of 75 parts per billion was set in 2008 and continues to be protective of human health and the environment,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Lowering the standard would have a detrimental effect on future economic growth in States like Arkansas and others across the country. I am proud to join with other attorneys general to protect our States from the financial strain of this new rule.”
In March, Attorney General Rutledge joined with 13 other States in submitting comments in a letter to the EPA explaining the harmful, negative impact the rule would have on States across the country. Attorney General Rutledge also filed her own comment letter criticizing the proposed rule.
Rutledge pointed out in the letter that while the Clean Air Act does require the EPA to review the standards every five years, the law does not require the standard be lowered every time it is reviewed.
“So long as the standard is protective of human health and the environment, it can remain unchanged,” Attorney General Rutledge wrote.
Arkansas has joined Arizona, North Dakota, Oklahoma and the New Mexico Environmental Department in this lawsuit.
Rutledge Announces Upcoming Mobile Office LocationsFri, Oct 23, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced upcoming mobile office locations.
Attorney General Rutledge created the mobile office initiative to reach consumers where they live. Earlier this month the initiative celebrated the milestone of holding office hours in all 75 counties for the first time.
The mobile offices assist constituents with consumer-related issues in filing consumer complaints against scam artists. Attorney General Rutledge believes there is no issue too small for her staff to have a face-to-face conversation.
For more information about services provided by the Attorney General’s office, visit ArkansasAG.gov or call 501-682-2007 or 800-482-8982. Rutledge can also be found on Facebook at facebook.com/AGLeslieRutledge and on Twitter at twitter.com/AGRutledge.
Upcoming Attorney General Mobile Office schedule:
Benton County Mobile Office
Wednesday, Oct. 28
10:30 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.
Schmeiding Senior Center
1801 Forrest Hills Blvd. #200D
Bella Vista, AR 72715
Garland County Mobile Office
Thursday, Nov. 5
9:30 – 11:30 a.m.
Hot Springs Senior Center
210 Woodbine St.
Hot Springs, AR 71901
Rutledge Joins Challenge to the EPA’s Carbon RuleFri, Oct 23, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that she has joined 23 other States in filing a lawsuit that challenges the Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) unlawful “Clean Power Plan,” which was published in the Federal Register today. In the documents filed with the Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia, the States make clear that the EPA has no legal authority to promulgate or enforce the section 111(d) rule.
“I have expressed my concerns over this rule since February, even testifying in front of a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee, and urged the EPA to withdraw the rule,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “The EPA is going far beyond its legal authority under the Clean Air Act. This unlawful rule will have serious and significant consequences. In a State like Arkansas where over half of the electricity is responsibly generated from coal-fired power plants, the impact will be felt in the pocketbooks of Arkansas utility ratepayers. These increased costs will have a direct impact on the State’s ability to grow good-paying jobs with fair, reasonable electric rates. Like all Arkansans, I favor clean air. But I do not favor heavy-handed and unlawful regulations from Washington that will hurt Arkansans.”
States already have firm deadlines to submit initial and final compliance plans under the rule despite the 1,560-page rule not being formally published until today.
Rutledge and other States have been seeking a stay of the rule since it was announced.
The States challenging the rule include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, New Jersey, Ohio, South Carolina, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, West Virginia, Wisconsin, Wyoming, the Arizona Corporation Commission, and the North Carolina Department of Environmental Quality.
Attorney General’s Office Accepting Applications for Spring Semester InternsWed, Oct 21, 2015
LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge today announced that her office is accepting applications for interns during the spring semester, which will begin on Jan. 4, 2016.
“Internships offer students a fulfilling learning opportunity and a look into the real-world job market,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Interns at the Attorney General’s office will have the chance to work with some of the top lawyers and professionals in the State. Students will learn exactly what it means to work in public service and to serve the people of Arkansas.”
Applicant packet information is available under the employment section at ArkansasAG.gov.
The deadline to apply is December 1.
Some interns may be able to arrange for college credit for their internship, depending upon the requirements of their college or university.
Those with questions about the Attorney General’s office intern program should contact the Human Resources Department at internship@ArkansasAG.gov.