Spin Control

Drug company settles over migraine medicine

OLYMPIA -- Makers of the drug Topamax agreed to pay the state about $1.2 million for pushing the drug for stuff it's not licensed to treat, Attorney General Rob McKenna's office said Wednesay.

Topamax, made by Ortho-McNeil-Janssen, is approved to treat epilepsy and migraines. But it was also being marketed to physicians in Washington state for bipolar disorder, and drug and alcohol dependency, which it is not approved to treat.

But doctors did proscribe it for those conditions, and for patients who were on Medicaid and other government health care programs were covered for those prescriptions. The state's Medicaid program will get nearly $200,000, the state general fund will get about $400,000 and the rest will be sent to the federal government to cover its share of the Medicaid money that shouldn't have been paid out for Topamax prescriptions.

Washington was among a group of states that sued the drug company and got a recent settlement.

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