WASHINGTON (Legal Newsline) - The Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) announced Sept. 22 that Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, now a subsidiary of Novelion Therapeutics, will pay a $4.1 million penalty after allegations of misleading investors in 2013.

Aegerion allegedly told investors the “vast majority” of patients who received prescriptions for Juxtapid ended up purchasing the drug. According to the SEC, only about 50 percent of prescriptions resulted in actual drug purchases.

“By no one’s math is 50 percent a vast majority,” said Paul Levenson, director of the SEC’s Boston Regional Office. “When companies publicly discuss their financial data, they must be truthful. Whether they supply hard numbers or give broader descriptions, they cannot mislead investors.”

Juxtapid is a product for treating a rare and potentially life-threatening genetic condition that causes people’s cholesterol levels to rise by extreme amounts. Juxtapid is expensive, costing $250,000 to $300,000 annually per patient. When it became available on the market in 2013, investors had little financial data to estimate future revenue possibilities. Aegerion provided prescription numbers, but did not tell investors until October 2014 that conversion rates hovered around 50 to 60 percent.

The case is ongoing. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is assisting in the case.

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