Texas sues Pfizer, Tris Pharma for Medicaid fraud

The Texas Office of the Attorney General’s (OAG) Civil Medicaid Fraud Division filed a lawsuit against several major pharmaceutical manufacturers including Pfizer, Tris Pharma, and Tris Pharma CEO Ketan Mehta, alleging violations of the Texas Health Care Program Fraud Prevention Act (THFPA).

According to the OAG, the defendant companies sold a medication intended to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder in children called Quillivant. The office contends the drug failed quality-control tests and was subject to a flawed manufacturing process.

The OAG also alleges the defendants illegally altered the drug testing procedures against regulatory standards and knowingly continued to sell the drug for years.

The suit alleges that the defendants violated the THFPA in misrepresenting or concealing their failure to comply with manufacturing standards from decision-makers with the Texas Medicaid Program, in order to ensure the drugs would qualify for and be approved for reimbursement through Medicaid funding.

“I am horrified by the dishonesty we uncovered in this investigation,” Attorney General Ken Paxton said in a statement regarding the lawsuit. “Pfizer and Tris intentionally concealed and failed to disclose the issues with Quillivant to receive taxpayer-funded benefits through Texas Medicaid, defrauding the state and endangering children.”

Both defendants responded to the lawsuit in statements to Reuters, with Pfizer saying it had examined the allegations contained in the complaint on multiple occasions and that it “did not find any impact on the safety of the product.” The corporation will also move to dismiss the case.

Likewise, a spokesperson for Tris stated, “We categorically deny and intend to rigorously defend these allegations in the court of law.”

The lawsuit, which had been under seal, was filed on November 8 in the 71st State District Court of Harrison County.

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