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Drug manufacturer to pay $24.9 million for offering kickbacks

Release date: 4/22/2013

Amgen provided additional rebates to gain an edge over competing drugs

Raleigh: Drug manufacturer Amgen will pay $24.9 million for allegedly offering kickbacks to pharmacies for prescribing its kidney drug Aranesp, Attorney General Roy Cooper said today.
 
“We need pharmacies and medical professionals to make decisions about which drugs to prescribe based on patients’ needs, not which company is willing to line their pockets,” Cooper said. “Kickbacks create an unfair advantage and take the focus away from what’s best for patients.”
 
The settlement resolves allegations that Amgen provided certain institutional pharmacies additional rebates on the kidney drug Aranesp in exchange for the promise that these pharmacies would promote the drug in programs implemented in nursing homes they served. The alleged purpose of the scheme was to induce medical professionals working at these facilities to dispense Aranesp instead of competing drugs.
 
Under the agreement, Amgen will pay $24.9 million to states and the federal government to compensate Medicaid, Medicare, and other taxpayer funded health care programs for its illegal conduct. As part of the settlement, North Carolina will receive $359,571.57 in restitution and other recovery.
 
This settlement is based on a whistleblower action that was filed in the United States District Court for South Carolina under state and federal false claims statutes. 
 
The North Carolina settlement agreement was reached by Cooper’s Medicaid Investigations Division and the North Carolina Division of Medical Assistance. 
 
The MID investigates fraud and abuse in the Medicaid program by hospitals, doctors, pharmaceutical companies, medical equipment companies, mental health and personal care providers, ambulance services and others, as well as patient abuse and neglect in Medicaid-funded facilities.
 
Over the past decade, Cooper’s MID has recouped more than $500 million and helped to convict hundreds of individuals on criminal charges. During the federal fiscal year that ended September 30, 2012, the MID won 33 criminal convictions and 14 civil settlements that recovered $94,390,397.85 from Medicaid abusers.  



Media contact:  Noelle Talley (919) 716-6413