Thanks once again to our friends at Health Care Renewal, we have this latest addition to our ongoing list:
Drug company settling with the Federal government on criminal charges: Merck KGaA of Switzerland (not the American Merck)
The drug involved is: Rebif (Interferon beta-1a, for multiple sclerosis)
The amount of the settlement is: $44M
The settlement equals what percentage of one year's sales of the drug?: less than 2%
Did the company admit wrongdoing? Yes/No: Of course not
Link to detailed news coverage: http://abcnews.go.com/Business/wireStory?id=13528024;
Most of the recent settlements we've reviewed in previous posts have to do with off label marketing. This case is more interesting because the Federal allegations are for direct kickbacks paid to physicians to prescribe the drug. Specifically, it is alleged, docs were sent to conferences at upscale resorts at company expense as a quid pro quo for prescribing. The company, as usual, says it did nothing wrong.
After the hundreds-of-millions settlements from some of the big guys recently, I almost did not list this one at all, as $44M seems to be chump change in this area.