Big drugmakers probed over possible kickbacks: Report

By Health CareFOXBusiness

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Big drug makers, including Sanofi, Gilead Sciences and Biogen, are being probed by investigators over claims some free services they provide violate the law, The Wall Street Journal reported Friday.

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The services, like nurses and copay assistance, which companies claim help doctors and patients, are being investigated for the role they may help in prompting sales, the Journal reported.

The federal anti-kickback statute, a criminal statute, prohibits the exchange of benefits or rewards for referrals for services that are paid by a federal health program – like Medicare. The law is intended to prevent health professionals, facilities or companies from unjustly influencing patients’ care or decision making, including directing them toward a certain drug or treatment.

In a statement to FOX Business, a Sanofi spokesperson said the company was served with a civil investigative demand last year, from the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Southern District of New York, over alleged kickbacks related to its clinical diabetes education program. The company said it is cooperating with investigators.

In a securities filing last year, Biogen disclosed that it was asked to hand over information about relationships it maintained with organizations providing clinical education and reimbursement support, the Journal reported.

Biogen declined to comment when contacted by FOX Business.

Meanwhile, Gilead Sciences has received inquiries over reimbursement support, education programs and interactions with specialty pharmacies on multiple occasions, according to securities filings reviewed by the Journal. A spokesperson for the company did not immediately return FOX Business’ request for comment.

Pharmaceutical giant AbbVie was hit with a lawsuit in California this week alleging employees bribed doctors to prescribe its Humira drug, which treats rheumatoid arthritis. The company has denied the claims.

Other companies face similar accusations, including Amgen and Eli Lilly.