AG Gansler: Drug Maker Amgen Resolves Kickback Allegations
Maryland to receive nearly $140,000 for illegal sales strategies involving the anemia/kidney disease drug Aranesp
Baltimore, MD ( April 22, 2013) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that drug manufacturer Amgen Inc., has resolved allegations that it violated federal and state law by illegally compensating certain pharmacies for recommending its nephrology drug Aranesp and "switching" patients to Aranesp from a competing drug. Amgen will pay $24.9 million under this national settlement, with Maryland receiving $138,980.99 for the Maryland Medicaid Assistance Program.
"All patients, especially those in long-term care, deserve to get proper medical treatment and advice that isn't skewed by financial incentives provided to pharmacies," said Attorney General Gansler. "This office is committed to holding accountable drug makers that provide kickbacks to pharmacies in order to boost their bottom line."
Maryland, joined by the federal government and several other states, alleged that Amgen agreed to provide long-term care pharmacy providers Omnicare Inc., PharMerica Corporation and Kindred Healthcare Inc., with rebates and other compensation in exchange for these pharmacies recommending Aranesp and instituting so-called "switching programs" intended to identify patients taking competing drugs and changing them to Aranesp.
In making the announcement, Attorney General Gansler thanked Assistant Attorney General Shelly Marie Martin and Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Chief Auditor Ruth Jarrell for their work on this case. A National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units team participated in the settlement negotiations with Amgen on behalf of the settling states.