Healthcare Fraud

Amgen and Astellas Pharma to pay nearly $125M to settle kickback allegations

Posted on April 29, 2019 by Medtech[y] Staff

The U.S. Department of Justice announced that Amgen and Astellas Pharma have agreed to pay almost $125 million to resolve allegations of False Claims Act violations by illegally paying the Medicare copays for their own products through copay assistance foundations.

“When pharmaceutical companies use foundations to create funds that are used improperly to subsidize the copays of only their own drugs, it violates the law and undercuts a key safeguard against rising drug costs,” said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Department of Justice’s Civil Division. “These enforcement actions make clear that the government will hold accountable drug companies that directly or indirectly pay illegal kickbacks.”

Amgen agreed to pay $24.75 million in the settlement and Astellas will pay $100 million.

“According to the allegations in today’s settlements, Astellas and Amgen conspired with two copay foundations to create funds that functioned almost exclusively to benefit patients taking Astellas and Amgen drugs,” said United States Attorney Andrew E. Lelling. “As a result, the companies’ payments to the foundations were not ‘donations,’ but rather were kickbacks that undermined the structure of the Medicare program and illegally subsidized the high costs of the companies’ drugs at the expense of American taxpayers. We will keep pursuing these cases until pharmaceutical companies stop engaging in this kind of behavior.”

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