AMGEN denies allegations but pays $24.9 million to settle allegations
Tue Apr 16, 2013 5:30pm EDT
(Reuters) - Amgen Inc has agreed to pay $24.9 million to settle allegations that it provided kickbacks to long-term care pharmacy providers to entice them to use its Aranesp anemia drug instead of a rival medicine, the Department of Justice announced on Tuesday.
The DOJ charged that the world's largest biotechnology company violated the False Claims Act through kickbacks paid to Omnicare Inc, Kindred Healthcare Inc and PharMerica Corp in exchange for switching Medicare and Medicaid patients to Aranesp to treat their anemia.
"We will continue to pursue pharmaceutical companies that pay kickbacks to long-term care pharmacy providers to influence drug-prescribing decisions," Stuart Delery, acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Civil Division, said in a statement.
"Patients in skilled nursing facilities deserve care that is free of improper financial influences," he added.
The civil settlement resolves a lawsuit filed in District Court for the District of South Carolina under the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act, the DOJ said.
The lawsuit was the fourth of five qui tam, or whistleblower, suits brought against the company that had been previously disclosed by Amgen. One had been previously settled and two others dismissed, the company said.
In a statement, Amgen denied all of the allegations that were resolved by the settlement.
The fine will not change their behavior. The SEC, realizing the AMGEN is a cash cow with over 80 billion Market cap, will keep them under a microscope for a very long time to come. They love making money as it just disappears into the SEC and is never heard from again. The cheated OMONTYS out of a lot of patients. Lets see how far it drops or if it drops at all. Bad news about the companies integrity while near 52 week high...