Monday, November 5, 2012

Let's Do It Again: Latest Federal Settlement (Boehringer Ingelheim)

We are back to our standard form, to report the latest incident of a drug firm settling with the Feds over alleged lawbreaking:

Drug company: Boehringer Ingelheim
Drugs involved: Combivent (ipratropium/albuterol), Micardis (telmisartan), Aggrenox (aspirin/dipyridamole)
Amount of settlement: $95M
Settlement equals what percentage of one year's sales of the drug?: I could quickly locate annual US sales figures only for two of the drugs in 2010, Micardis and Combivent; the settlement amount is 4% of that combined figure.
Did the company admit wrongdoing? Yes/No: Of course not
Link to detailed news coverage:

This is such small potatoes in the balance sheet of a big drug firm, less than $100M, that it's hardly worth even mentioning, except that the Feds claimed that besides evidence for off-label promotion which amounted to lying about the drug's effectiveness, the company also engaged in paying kickbacks to docs for prescribing the drugs. Not surprising to any regular readers of this blog, the kickbacks consisted of payment for serving on advisory boards, speaker panels, speakers' training programs, and consultancies.

The company, in denying any wrongdoing, commented that industry standards had recently changed, that the company was cooperating fully, and that they had entered into a supposed integrity agreement. Given the frequency with which other drug companies in the past have entered into such agreements and then repeatedly re-violated, one can be forgiven for skepticism that this amounts to any significant deterrent.

Hat tip to our Health Care Renewal friends for tipping us off:

1 comment:

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