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A national drug company will pay almost $700,000 to the state of Michigan as part of a multi-million dollar settlement stemming from a lawsuit alleging the company falsely labeled a dental health multivitamin sold nationwide.

Qualitest Pharmaceuticals Inc. marketed multivitamin tablets that contained less than 50 percent of the fluoride claimed on the labels, Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette said in a statement Tuesday.

The mislabeling was exposed in a whistleblower lawsuit resulting in a $39 million nationwide settlement. Of that payment, Michigan will receive $693,241.64, Schuette said.

An unnamed, competing drug company discovered the mislabeling while conducting “quantitative analysis” on Qualitest’s multivitamin, according to Schuette’s office.

The lower dose of fluoride put children and other consumers at greater risk for cavities, Schuette said. The mislabeling also allowed health care providers to unknowingly submit false claims to Medicaid and other federal health care plans, in violation of false claim laws.

“Parents, dentists and physicians rely on truthfulness in drug labeling and cannot take care of their children and patients when labels are not accurate,” the attorney general said in the statement.

The settlement money will go into the state’s Medicaid trust fund, since the tablets originally were paid for with Medicaid dollars, according to Schuette’s office.

“The victims in this case are victims of drug quality,” spokeswoman Andrea Bitley said. “Fortunately, they were not financial victims as well.”

Qualitest was the nation’s largest distributor of multivitamins with fluoride from Oct. 1, 2007 to Aug. 31, 2013, Schuette said. The settlement stemmed from a lawsuit filed in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York law, called “U.S., et al, ex rel. Porter v. Qualitest Pharmaceuticals Inc., et al.”

Anyone with concerns about their dental health should consult a dentist, Schuette said in the statement.

HFournier@detroitnews.com

(313) 223-4616

@HollyPFournier

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