For Immediate Release - December 20, 2012

Amgen to Pay $690,000 to MassHealth Resolving Allegations of Improper Marketing

Leading Biotech Company Allegedly Reported Inaccurate Prices Causing Inflated Payments by State Medicaid Programs

BOSTON – Resolving allegations that it illegally marketed multiple prescription drugs and manipulated prices resulting in inflated payments by the state’s Medicaid program, Amgen will pay $690,000 in restitution, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

The settlement was part of an agreement between all 50 states and the District of Columbia with the major biotech company regarding the drugs Aranesp, Enbrel, Epogen, Neulasta, Neupogen and Sensipar totaling $612 million in civil damages and penalties. In addition, Amgen has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $136 million fine and a $14 million forfeiture to resolve criminal charges including a violation of the federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA) involving the off-label marketing of the anemia drug Aranesp. The criminal charges were filed by the federal government in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of New York.

“This settlement reflects our ongoing commitment to ensure that corporations are held accountable for marketing practices that put considerations of profit ahead of patient needs,” AG Coakley said. “We are proud to have worked with our federal and state colleagues to achieve this settlement and bring hundreds of thousands of dollars back to the MassHealth program.”

Allegations against Amgen include:

  • Illegally offering, paying or causing kickbacks for the purpose of influencing health care providers’ selection and utilization of various drugs for the treatment of Medicaid recipients;
  • Knowingly reporting inaccurate Average Sales Prices (ASPs) resulting in the payment of inflated prices by government-funded health care programs; and
  • Knowingly reporting inaccurate Best Prices and Average Manufacturer’s Prices (AMPs) for resulting in the underpayment of Medicaid Rebates.

As a condition of the settlement, Amgen will enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Office of the Inspector General of the United States Department of Health and Human Services, which will closely monitor the company’s future marketing and sales practices. It will also pay $690,000 to the state’s Medicaid program (MassHealth).

This settlement is based on ten whistleblower cases filed in United States District Courts in Massachusetts, New York and the state of Washington by private individuals who filed lawsuits on behalf of the government under state and federal false claims statutes.

The case was handled by Assistant Attorney General Ann Ackil and data analyst/investigator Tony Megathlin of AG Coakley’s Medicaid Fraud Division, who worked on the investigation and settlement with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York, the U.S. Department of Justice, and representatives of the Attorneys General of New York, California, Illinois, Indiana and North Carolina.

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