U.S. claims Regeneron paid kickbacks via charity to boost expensive drug

By Nate Raymond BOSTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday sued Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc, accusing it of using a charity that helps cover Medicare patients' drug costs as a means to pay kickbacks for using its expensive macular degeneration drug Eylea. The government filed a lawsuit against the company in federal court in Boston, the latest case to result from an industry-wide probe of drugmakers' financial support of patient assistance charities

Reuters June 25, 2020 00:06:28 IST
U.S. claims Regeneron paid kickbacks via charity to boost expensive drug

US claims Regeneron paid kickbacks via charity to boost expensive drug

By Nate Raymond

BOSTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday sued Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc, accusing it of using a charity that helps cover Medicare patients' drug costs as a means to pay kickbacks for using its expensive macular degeneration drug Eylea.

The government filed a lawsuit against the company in federal court in Boston, the latest case to result from an industry-wide probe of drugmakers' financial support of patient assistance charities.

Drug companies are prohibited from subsidizing co-payments for patients enrolled in the government healthcare program for those aged 65 and older. Companies may donate to non-profits providing co-pay assistance as long as they are independent.

But the lawsuit said Tarrytown, New York-based Regeneron following the launch of Eylea in 2011 began funneling tens of millions of dollars through a patient assistance foundation to ensure virtually no one on Medicare had to pay co-pays.

The lawsuit said the scheme helped Regeneron boost sales for the drug, which typically costs over $10,000 per year. From 2013 to 2014, when the scheme was operating, Medicare paid $1.9 billion for Eylea, the lawsuit said.

Regeneron in a statement said it would vigorously defend itself. "We do not believe there is any merit to the complaint," the company said.

Its stock price midday Wednesday was $604.62, down 3.84%.

The lawsuit follows an investigation that has resulted in more than $865 million in settlements with drugmakers and charities, including the foundation the government says Regeneron used, Good Days, previously known as the Chronic Disease Fund.

Good Days in October agreed to pay $2 million to resolve allegations it conspired with five other companies including Novartis AG to enable them to pay kickbacks to Medicare patients using their drugs. It did not admit wrongdoing.

The case is U.S. v. Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc, U.S. District Court, District of Massachusetts, No. 20-11217.

(Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama, Tom Brown and David Gregorio)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.