PORTLAND (AP) – Maine will receive nearly $2.5 million as part of a settlement in a government lawsuit against two pharmaceutical companies, the Maine attorney general said.

Steven Rowe said the MaineCare program, formerly called Maine Medicaid, will get the money as a result of court settlement in a Medicaid fraud lawsuit against Bayer and GlaxoSmithKline.

That settlement, the largest ever for Medicaid fraud, was the result of three-year federal probe and ended with Bayer agreeing to pay $252 million and Glaxo paying $88 million. The money will be shared by the federal government, the District of Columbia and every state except Arizona.

Pharmaceutical companies that participate in Medicaid must offer the government the lowest price available to other customers. If a company charges anyone less than the government, it must pay Medicaid a rebate.

Federal prosecutors accused Bayer and Glaxo of offering drugs at discount prices to Kaiser Permanente, the nation’s largest health maintenance organization, and then scheming to hide those discounts.

Prosecutors said the scheme resulted in states paying millions more for four drugs. The medications included the antibiotic Cipro and the high blood pressure drug Adalat made by Bayer, and the nasal spray Flonase and anti-depressant Paxil made by Glaxo.

“These schemes shed some light on what is behind rising drug costs for states,” said Maine Assistant Attorney General Marci Alexander, who handled the case for the state.

As part of the settlement, Bayer also agreed to plead guilty to violating the Federal Prescription Drug Marketing Act and pay a criminal fine of $5.6 million. Glaxo was not accused of criminal wrongdoing.


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