by Christopher Freeburn | April 17, 2013 11:39 am
On Tuesday, government regulators announced that they had reached a settlement with Amgen (NASDAQ:AMGN) over alleged kickback payments tied to its anemia drug.
The Department of Justice says that the biotech drug maker will pay $24.9 million to settle the charges. Amgen had been accused of paying fees to long-term care providers to promote the use of Aranesp over competing treatments, Reuters noted.
Amgen allegedly paid kickbacks to Omnicare (NYSE:OCR), PharMerica (NYSE:PMC) and Kindred Healthcare (NYSE:KND) to push Medicare and Medicaid patients to use Aranesp, according to the government. The payments violated the False Claims Act. Amgen denies any wrongdoing.
The federal suit was one of five whistle-blower lawsuits faced by Amgen over alleged kickbacks. Two of those suits were dismissed, while another has already been settled.
Federal prosecutors said they would purse pharmaceutical makers who pay long-term care providers to improperly influence medical choices for patients.
In February, Merck (NYSE:MRK) agreed to settle shareholder lawsuits relating to disclosures about its cholesterol drug Vytorin for $688 million.
Shares of Amgen fell more than 2% in Wednesday morning trading.
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