Bryan Cohen Dec. 19, 2012, 8:14pm

WASHINGTON, D.C. (Legal Newsline) - A multi-state group of attorneys general announced a $612 million federal settlement Wednesday with Amgen Inc., a pharmaceutical company that allegedly used illegal promotion for six of its drugs.

Amgen allegedly offered kickbacks to medical professionals who pushed Medicaid patients to use the drugs Sensipar, Neupogen, Neulasta, Epogen, Enbrel and Aranesp. The states and federal government also alleged that Amgen illegally marketed and promoted Neulasta, Enbrel and Aranesp for uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"Amgen's use of taxpayer dollars to influence what doctors prescribed created significant risks for vulnerable patients in Illinois' Medicaid program," Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said.

The pharmaceutical company also allegedly reported inaccurate average sales prices for Neupogen, Neulasta, Epogen and Aranesp and allegedly engaged in the knowing inaccurate reporting of best prices and average manufacturers prices for the six drugs.

Under the terms of the settlement, Amgen will pay $612 million in civil damages and penalties to compensate Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health care programs.

The settlement is the result of 10 whistleblower actions brought by private individuals pursuant to federal and state false claims acts.

Amgen also pled guilty to federal criminal charges related to FDA reporting and drug labeling. Additionally, the company must enter into a corporate integrity agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of the Inspector General. The office will closely monitor the future marketing and sales practices of the company.

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