Articles Tagged with big pharma

big-pharma-300x196Jazz Pharma, Alexion, and Lundbeck were the subject of SOJ lawsuits asserting kickbacks and committing general violations of Medicare laws. The United States Department of Justice has decided to agree to a settlement of $122.6 million in total from these three alleged Medicare violators.

The drug companies were accused of offering remuneration in hopes of encouraging patients to purchase their medications. They would pay kickbacks, a form of negotiated bribery, to patients of Medicare and Civilian Health and Medical Program (ChampVA) under the guise of charitable organizations that subsidized the co-pays. This is not an uncommon practice, but it is one many law enforcement programs are attempting to discontinue.

The DOJ states that in this case, the companies violated the Federal False Claims Act. This act is a way of imposing liability onto anyone, be it a group or individual, that has been discovered interfering with government-funded programs such as in this case with Medicare. This is one of the government’s main tools in defending against fraudulent acts.

insulinEli Lilly, a pharmaceutical giant known for their rapid-acting insulin, Humalog, has officially decided to release a generic version of insulin that will be nearly half the price of its name-brand product.

Not long before this announcement, many pharmaceutical leaders were gathered in order to discuss the issue concerning confusingly high drug prices. One of the main targets of this debate was the increase in pricing for insulin, in which people who have diabetes have been drastically rationing due to their inability to afford what they need to survive.

Humalog, one of the nation’s more expensive insulin options, has had a big increase in their cost over the years. Senator Ron Wyden states, “The list price of Eli Lilly’s main insulin drug, Humalog, went from $21 a vial in 1996 to its current list price of $275.” He then continues to question these actions by stating that, “Humalog isn’t thirteen times as effective as it used to be… A vial doesn’t last thirteen times longer than it did in 1996.”.

Insys TherapeuticsA former Insys Therapeutics executive, accused in an opioid bribe scheme, may have once gifted a lap dance to a doctor the company was pressuring to prescribe opioids drugs to patients. The troubling allegations are emerging as part of Insys trial in Boston.

Jurors heard the “lap dance” testimony on the second day of the federal trial in Boston against Insys Therapeutics founder, John Kapoor, and four other former executives. Apparently, Sunrise Lee, was a former exotic dancer with no experience in pharmaceuticals, who was hired to be a regional sales manager.

Holly Brown, a former Insys sales representative, testified that her superiors encouraged her and others of the sale team to focus their attention on a specific doctor who was known for prescribing a high amount of opioids, named Dr. Paul Madison. She says at one party she saw Lee sitting on Madison’s lap and “bouncing around,” with Madison’s hands “inappropriately all over” Lee’s chest. The prosecutors say this was part of an opioid bribe scheme.

tax havenThe Sackler family empire comprises Purdue in America, Napp in Britain, and Mundipharma in Europe and Australasia. The companies have helped amass a £10 billion fortune, protected, in part, by the tax haven of Bermuda.

The Evening Standard in the UK released a report detailing that while their opioid painkillers are manufactured in Cambridge, the Caribbean is actually the heart of the Sacklers’ tax avoidance strategy. They report the Sackler family has allegedly diverted billions of pounds in profit to Bermuda to avoid paying millions in taxes that would have been due to the UK or Europe.

The Investigation into Opioid Companies

Several Pharmhigh-prices-300x200aceutical Companies Started 2018 by Increasing Drug Prices

Big Pharma rang in the New Year by having customers ring up higher drug prices at the checkout counter.  According to Stat News, several big-name drug makers hiked prices up nearly 10%.

Allergan (AGN) upped the price of 18 medicines by 9.5 percent. This particular number was reached to keep the drug maker to its pledge of “no double-digit” price hikes. The pledge was made as part of social contract issued over growing anger at the price of medication. Allergan did release a statement noting the new prices stay within the range of their pledge. They are one of the few drug companies to actually make the pledge.

watchdog-300x200An Australian Consumer Watchdog Agency Says Misleading Claims Will Ultimately Hurt the Public

An Australian Consumer Watchdog group is taking two big pharmaceutical companies to court. The Australian Competition and Consumer Commission says that Novartis (NVS) and GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) are making false claims about a topical gel and pocketing the profits.

Misleading the Public

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Free Speech Is a New Defense for Off-Label Drug Pitches and It’s Having Industry-Wide Ramifications

 It’s not unheard of for drugs to be developed for one ailment and be used to treat others.  It’s fairly common, after extensive research and testing, for drugs to be used to treat a blanket of issues.  However, another approach by big pharma is raising ethical and legal concerns and their new claims that their First Amendment rights of free speech allows them to market off-label purposes for drugs to doctors.  An article  by Keith A. Spencer in Salon,  highlights a recent case that used free speech to defend untested off-label drug claims.  The article was originally published on FairWarning and it says the new free speech defense is making waves in Washington.

The Caronia Case

 
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Big Pharma Knows How Laws Work and They Can Use Them Against the DEA

 Why did Congress, in the middle of the greatest drug crisis in the nation pass a law that stripped the Drug Enforcement Administration of its ability to sue companies violating drug distribution laws? The answer Massive millions of dollars contributed by lobbiests for the drug manufacturers and distributors and a unbridled propaganda campaign written and implemented in part by former DEA lawyers who went to work for private law firms representing the drug companies. The worst of American politics and lack of morality. These are the fact based conclusions of a joint 60 minutes and Washington Post investigation into the passage of a bill called “The Marino Law.”

The Undercutting Law