The U.S. Department of Justice has reached a settlement with Amgen over alleged kickback payments tied to its anemia drug. It was reported that the biotech drug maker will pay $24.9 million to settle the charges. Reuters had previously reported that Amgen had been accused of paying fees to long-term care providers to promote the use of Aranesp over competing treatments. Amgen allegedly paid kickbacks to Omnicare, PharMerica and Kindred Healthcare to push Medicare and Medicaid patients to use Aranesp, according to the government. Payments of that sort would violate the False Claims Act.
The federal suit was one of five whistle-blower lawsuits filed against Amgen involving alleged kickbacks. It appears that two of those suits were dismissed and another settled. According to federal prosecutors, they will purse pharmaceutical makers who pay long-term care providers to improperly influence medical choices for patients. In February, Merck agreed to settle shareholder lawsuits relating to disclosures about its cholesterol drug Vytorin for $688 million.
Sources: Investorplace.com and Reuters
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