Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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New #Pharma Bad Boy: Novartis!

New #Pharma Bad Boy: Novartis! | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

An anonymous whistleblower has accused Novartis of paying bribes in Turkey by using a consulting firm to boost the use of its medicines, according to Reuters. The alleged bribes reportedly resulted in $85 million in benefits to Novartis.

 

The firm aided the drug maker by getting medicines added to formularies, or list of medicines that were approved for use in government-run hospitals, according to a 5,000-word email that Reuters reviewed. The consulting firm also helped Novartis avoid price cuts in other countries by winning government approval to change the names of two medicines.

 

This is only the latest instance in which Novartis has confronted charges of paying bribes to boost business.

 

Earlier this week, the drug maker agreed to pay $25 million to settle charges that it violated the US Foreign Corrupt Practices Act by making illegal payments to health care providers in China. Last month, South Korean authorities raided Novartis’s offices in search of evidence the company provided bribes to local doctors.

 

In the United States, Novartis is squabbling with the Department of Justice over documents that allegedly contain details of nearly 80,000 “sham” events that the drug maker used to encourage doctors to prescribe several medicines (http://sco.lt/5PtPkX).

 

Last fall, meanwhile, Novartis paid a $390 million settlement over charges of inducing specialty pharmacies to boost prescriptions. This case also was the result of a whistleblower lawsuit.

Pharma Guy's insight:

What's going on with Novartis these days? 

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Big Pharma exec turned Whistleblower - YouTube

Big Pharma exec turned Whistleblower - YouTube | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

Dr. John Rengen Virapen, former Eli Lilly & Co executive who after 35 years of service decided to quit and speak out about Big Pharma's method for profit and the benefit of symptomatic diseases that people live with for the duration of their lives. This is a video that was uploaded to Youtube on Jul 15, 2009.

Pharma Guy's insight:


I interviewed Dr. Virapen about the allegations he made in his book "Side Effects: Death" in 2007. Listen to that podcast here.

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Wire-Wearing Whistleblower Wins $33.6M Windfall in Off-Label Promo Case

Wire-Wearing Whistleblower Wins $33.6M Windfall in Off-Label Promo Case | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
Former Endo sales rep Peggy Ryan first filed a whistleblower suit--concerning off-label marketing of its pain patch, Lidoderm--against the drugmaker in 2005. Nine years later, the company settled with the Department of Justice. And now, Ryan is walking away with a hefty chunk of change.


Ryan will pocket roughly $33.6 million--24% of the government's $140 million share of the $171.9 million settlement, The Legal Intelligencer reports. Under the False Claims Act (FCA), whistleblowers can receive between 15% and 25% in cases where the government intervenes.


To help catch the company in the act, Ryan spent the last 5 years of her 9-year journey under the instruction of the FBI, wearing a wire to record several days' worth of meetings and conversations. Later, she cooperated with government branches including the Department of Health and Human Services, whose inspector general she helped draft a subpoena.




Pharma Guy's insight:


Actually, she did some hard work to earn that money, according to the judge: "An examination of the record exhibits that Ryan provided not only the spark for the investigation, but that she nurtured the flame at the darkest times when the possibility of a favorable outcome seemed most remote," U.S. District Judge Robert F. Kelly wrote in his memorandum. "Throughout the nine-year period from her first qui tam complaint in 2005 to the settlement in 2014, Ryan continually provided access behind the corporate walls of Endo. Ryan's insider status, conferred by her employment with Endo, enabled the government investigatory team to recover evidence which would have otherwise been unobtainable."

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September was a milestone for #pharma whistleblowers

The False Claims Act (FCA) is a federal law, which is now mirrored by many recently enacted state laws, that empowers whistleblowers, their attorneys and the government to form public-private partnerships aimed at combating fraud against the government. It is particularly relevant to the health care and pharmaceutical industries because fraud in these areas often impacts the government's Medicaid and Medicare expenses — sometimes costing taxpayers billions of dollars.


In September, Shire Pharmaceuticals L.L.C. agreed to pay $58.9 million to resolve an FCA case alleging the company promoted and overstated the efficacy of one of its drugs, despite a lack of supporting clinical data. 


Various other FCA cases that month involving medical device, hospice, skilled nursing facility, surgical center and medical-center companies resulted in agreed-upon settlements totaling another $13 million. Such activity is not surprising in an era when annual FCA civil recoveries now average more than $3.7 billion. And that doesn't take into account criminal fines, which are also substantial, and the attendant costs of monitoring and other such programs often included in the overall context of a civil settlement.


The lesson of September 2014 for the healthcare industry in this area is that whistleblower laws and cases are not only here to stay, but their impact is about to get even greater.


What can companies do in the face of this reality?  


Companies should promote their integrity-based actions as a way of gaining both the trust and business of consumers. That translates to higher profits, reinforcing that good conduct is good business.

Pharma Guy's insight:


Another option: STOP BREAKING THE LAW!

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