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California Sues AbbVie Over Alleged Arthritis Drug Kickbacks

  • Paid nurses helped keep people on Humira drug, state alleges
  • Insurance commissioner intervening in whistleblower complaint
Bottles of pills arranged in shelf at a drugstore

Photographer: IPGGutenbergUKLtd/iStockphoto via Getty Images

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California’s insurance regulator is suing AbbVie Inc., alleging that the pharmaceutical giant gave illegal kickbacks to health-care providers in order to keep patients on its blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira.

The company “engaged in a far-reaching scheme including both classic kickbacks -- cash, meals, drinks, gifts, trips, and patient referrals -- and more sophisticated ones -- free and valuable professional goods and services to physicians to induce and reward Humira prescriptions,” the California Department of Insurance said in a statement.