Update: Sanford Heisler Announces $762 million Settlement In Qui Tam Action
Against Amgen, Inc.
Fraudulent Promotion of Off-Label Use & Kickbacks for Aranesp Was Centerpiece
of Five-Year Federal Investigation & Award
WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2012
WASHINGTON, Dec. 19, 2012 /PRNewswire/ --Sanford Heisler, LLP, a leading
public interest law firm, today announced a $762 million global qui tam
settlement with Amgen, Inc. and the United States Department of Justice. The
settlement includes a $612 million civil settlement, a $14 million forfeiture
and $136 million in criminal fines.
Headquartered in Thousand Oaks, CA, Amgen is a leading human therapeutics
company in the biotechnology industry. The whistleblower ("relator") who was
represented by Sanford Heisler, one of several relators who took part in the
Government's investigation, had been employed as an oncology pharmaceutical
sales representative for Amgen from 2002 through 2005. In 2007, the relator
filed suit against her former employer in the U.S. District Court for the
Eastern District of Pennsylvania under a federal whistleblower statute, the
Federal False Claims Act (31 U.S.C. § 3729).
Among other allegations, the complaint focused on Amgen's off-label marketing
campaign and use of illegal kickbacks to promote the sale of Aranesp. The
federal investigation confirmed that the company's tactics caused physicians
to use the company's medications unnecessarily in circumstances where less
costly medications or no medication would otherwise have been used. These and
other fraudulent practices resulted in increased costs incurred by federal
health care programs such as Medicare and Medicaid for the treatment of
patients improperly prescribed Aranesp and other Amgen medications.
The legal team at Sanford Heisler LLP included Lead Counsel David Sanford,
Grant Morris and Stefanie Roemer in the firm's Washington, D.C. and Ross
Brooks in the firm's New York offices.
"This settlement reflects several years of investigative effort, in
collaboration with the U.S. Department of Justice and the U.S. Attorney's
Office," said Mr. Sanford, Chairman of Sanford Heisler. "The DOJ and United
States Attorney did an outstanding job of validating our allegations. We are
pleased with this outcome and believe it will go a long way in preventing
Amgen from continuing to violate federal regulations by promoting the
off-label use of its powerful drugs and providing medical providers with
kickbacks for inappropriately prescribing them. This settlement will also
empower pharmaceutical sales representatives to blow the whistle on their
employers' illegal actions."
About Sanford Heisler, LLP
Sanford Heisler is a public interest law firm with offices in Washington,
D.C., New York, and San Francisco that specializes in whistleblower,
employment discrimination, wage and hour, qui tam and other civil rights
matters. The firm has extensive experience in complex class action litigation
having successfully represented thousands of individuals in major class action
cases in the United States. The firm also represents select individual clients
with a particular emphasis on the representation of executives and lawyers in
employment disputes and whistleblowers. In May 2010, the firm won the largest
jury award in the U.S. in a gender discrimination employment class action when
a jury returned a verdict of $253 million in compensatory and punitive damages
against Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation. In 2012, the firm won court
approval to settle a wage and hour case on behalf of sales reps employed by
Novartis Pharmaceuticals for $99 million. For more information, contact
Sanford Heisler at (202) 499-5200.
For more information, contact Jamie Moss, newsPRos, 201-493-1027,
SOURCE Sanford Heisler, LLP
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