"US Govt sues Novartis in NY again, cites doc kickbacks"

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"US Govt sues Novartis in NY again, cites doc kickbacks"

Postby HappyPoet » Mon Apr 29, 2013 6:44 pm

Printed in the Wall Street Journal:

http://online.wsj.com/article/APdf785bb ... 5fc5f.html

NEW YORK — The U.S. government sued Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. again on Friday, saying it paid kickbacks for a decade to doctors to steer patients toward its drugs, sometimes disguising fishing trips off the Florida coast and trips to Hooters restaurants as speaking engagements for the doctors.

The lawsuit in U.S. District Court in Manhattan came two days after the government brought a similar lawsuit against Novartis, which is based in East Hanover, N.J. The first lawsuit said the company paid kickbacks to pharmacies to switch kidney transplant patients from competitors' drugs to its own.

In the second lawsuit, the government accused the company of using from 2001 through 2011 multimillion-dollar "incentive programs" that targeted doctors willing to accept illegal kickbacks to urge patients to use the company's drugs.

"And for its investment, Novartis reaped dramatically increased profits on these drugs, and Medicare, Medicaid and other federal health care programs were left holding the bag," U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said in a statement.

Novartis President Andre Wyss said the company disagreed with the way the government characterized its conduct and stands behind its compliance program.

"NPC invests significant time and resources to help ensure we conduct our business in an ethical and responsible manner," Wyss said in a statement. "We are committed to doing it right."

The government said Novartis paid doctors to speak about certain drugs at events that were little more than social occasions, including fishing outings and trips to Hooters, known for its scantily clad waitresses. At other times, the government said, Novartis treated doctors to expensive dinners at high-end restaurants, including a dinner for three doctors on Valentine's Day 2006 at a West Des Moines, Iowa, restaurant that cost Novartis $1,042 per person.

Internal analyses within Novartis revealed that doctors who participated in the programs increased the number of prescriptions they wrote when they were being paid by the company to speak about a drug, the government said.

"The payments and lavish dinners given to the doctors were, in reality, kickbacks to the speakers and attendees to induce them to write prescriptions for Novartis drugs," the government said in a release. "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."

Acting Assistant Attorney General Stuart F. Delery said kickback schemes "not only call into question the integrity of individual medical decisions, they raise the cost of health care for all of us."

Novartis said it looked forward to presenting the facts in court.

"Discounts and rebates by pharmaceutical companies are a customary, appropriate and legal practice as recognized by the government itself," Novartis said. "Physician speaker programs are an accepted and customary practice in the industry. These are promotional programs designed to inform physicians about the appropriate use of our medicines."

The government is seeking unspecified damages and civil penalties. It noted that the case follows a lawsuit brought by a whistleblower in January 2011.

—Copyright 2013 Associated Press
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Re: "US Govt sues Novartis in NY again, cites doc kickbacks"

Postby blossom » Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:20 pm

good to see something being done. we can be pretty sure that this co. isn't the only one doing this. it will be pretty interesting to see the very final out come of this. just what the final outcome will be after appeals and deals.

if it were you or i--they would throw the key away.

but, since some of our representives are amongst the first to "well they don't call it influencing or bribery" they call contributions and lobbying. these big boys with their big bucks are shoulder to shoulder at the big $ meals etc. but, i'm sure it doesn't influence any laws that might just happen to make some already wealthy even more so. they all have itchy backs when it comes to you scratch my back i'll scratch yours.

but, hopefully they'll get what they deserve - not just a slap on the wrist and a few fines that we the gen. public will never know for sure what really was what. unless, i'd see them old and grey crawling out of a prison cell monitored everyday of their sentence "life would be nice" then i might feel justice was done. not some little guy they shoved in there to take the blame i hope it includes the big dogs.

thanks for makeing us aware this is going on. we'll get to watch our criminal justice system at work and the tax dollars.

can you imagine the harm this brought to patients too.

i know the govt. is sueing them but i think their actons are criminal!

keep us updated if you can.
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Re: "US Govt sues Novartis in NY again, cites doc kickbacks"

Postby HarryZ » Tue Apr 30, 2013 8:02 am

good to see something being done. we can be pretty sure that this co. isn't the only one doing this


This isn't the only company doing this and in the MS pharmaceutical world, it happens more than we think!

Biogen, for example, has been slapped on the hands on more than one occasion by the FDA for false advertising on their MS drugs. Other companies do the same. The attitude these companies have is that it is part of the cost of doing business.

A couple of percent increase in market share can be worth millions and millions of additional revenue for these companies so paying some fines along the way is a minor bump. The cost of approved MS medications is obscene compared to what the cost of supplying them is these days. But I guess someone has to pay for all the perks these companies offer the docs!!

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Re: "US Govt sues Novartis in NY again, cites doc kickbacks"

Postby want2bike » Wed May 01, 2013 5:55 am

It is a sick world we live in but we do not have to buy into the system. Drugs are not necessary when you live a healthy life style. There was a time when I would get sick all the time and go to the doctor. Since I have started a health lifestyle I go to the doctor once a year to get my blood work done. Any advice he gives me goes in one ear and out the other. The doctor is following the advice of the drug companies and their goal is profit. They are not going to profit on me anymore. It is up to each of us to determine if we need a drug and not rely on the doctor who is being paid by the drug companies.
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Re: "US Govt sues Novartis in NY again, cites doc kickbacks"

Postby 1eye » Fri Aug 09, 2013 7:34 pm

These are not the only companies offering and paying bribes to doctors. Yet another well-known company had to settle out of court with the US government who were alleging that, through an "MS" Consortium, they were bribing doctors to prescribe their inject-able DMD. I won't say who, but the settlement was 40 some-odd million: a drop in the bucket for the culprits, when they get $30,000 a year for the drug from each patient. Pharma don't care. They make $10 Billion a year on "MS" patients alone. That company fired their chief, but I think they make too much to abandon the practice. Some drugs you can buy today cost $1,000,000 per year.

The patients are the biggest loser, not the government, because it only encourages doctors to be dishonest. It takes away any incentive to care whether patients get any better on these drugs. As long as the money keep flowing. They pilloried Lance Armstrong for taking drugs. He had the attitude that "everybody else can cheat, so why shouldn't I?" This criminal logic is the reason Pharma will continue to do this, and "MS" will always be with us. If they continue, what's to stop insurance companies, even governments, from going bankrupt?

It doesn't do a lot for bedside manners. either.
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Re: "US Govt sues Novartis in NY again, cites doc kickbacks"

Postby David1949 » Sat Aug 10, 2013 6:37 pm

I used to think all the crooks in the country went into government. But apparently some went into the medical industry too.
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Re: "US Govt sues Novartis in NY again, cites doc kickbacks"

Postby eric593 » Mon Aug 12, 2013 7:00 am

There needs to be greater deterrents in place so that big pharma appreciates that more than a little monetary penalty is at stake for bad behaviour. Surely, when people's lives are on the line and we are talking people's health, these kinds of infractions should have grave consequences when it comes to breaching the trust of vulnerable people, like never working in the healthcare field again or imprisonment. Making money should NOT be the primary objective for pharmaceutical companies when people's health is at play, the objectives of pharma corporations should need to be different than big business to include obligations to the public trust and acting in the best interests of the patients they are intended to serve, IMO.
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Re: "US Govt sues Novartis in NY again, cites doc kickbacks"

Postby PointsNorth » Mon Aug 12, 2013 3:52 pm

eric593 wrote:There needs to be greater deterrents in place so that big pharma appreciates that more than a little monetary penalty is at stake for bad behaviour. Surely, when people's lives are on the line and we are talking people's health, these kinds of infractions should have grave consequences when it comes to breaching the trust of vulnerable people, like never working in the healthcare field again or imprisonment. Making money should NOT be the primary objective for pharmaceutical companies when people's health is at play, the objectives of pharma corporations should need to be different than big business to include obligations to the public trust and acting in the best interests of the patients they are intended to serve, IMO.



Agreed. Doctors would not like to lose their licence. Just like corporate execs are fearful of the crow-bar hotel. Bring on meaningful punishment.

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