Mar 9, 2014
Suit Alleges Drug Company Paid Doctors to Shill
Posted on May 1, 2013
Swiss pharmaceutical manufacturer Novartis paid doctors to push three of its products by holding “educational events” on fishing trips and at Hooters restaurants that amounted to little more than parties, according to the federal government.
The Justice Department filed a lawsuit against the U.S. division of Novartis alleging violation of the federal Anti-Kickback Statute from January 2001 to at least November 2011.
In a news release last week, the department said the company paid physicians to talk about three Novartis medications—hypertension drugs amlodipine/benazepril (Lotrel) and aliskiren/valsartan (Valturna) and diabetes drug nateglinide (Starlix). The events “were often little or nothing more than social occasions for the doctors,” the release said. There is little record that any presentation of the medical effects of the products ever occurred.
“In many instances Novartis made payments to doctors for purported speaker programs that either did not occur at all or that had few or no attendees, and thousands of programs were held all over the country at which few or no slides were shown and the doctors who participated spent little or no time discussing the drug at issue,” the release went on to say.
—Posted by Alexander Reed Kelly.
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