Government Sues Novartis AG over Illegal Kickbacks to Doctors

Drug and medical device companies are not allowed to provide kickbacks to doctors in exchange for using their products. While the federal False Claims Act specifically prohibits this practice, manufacturers continue to engage in the illegal activity. The U.S. Government recently announced its second civil fraud lawsuit against Novartis AG in four days, accusing a unit of the Swiss drug maker of paying multimillion-dollar kickbacks to doctors in exchange for prescribing its drugs.

Outrageous Corporate Behavior at the Expense of Consumers

Novartis AG has been accused of outrageous corporate behavior to get its products prescribed.

According to Reuters, the Swiss drug maker:

  • lavished healthy speaking fees and “opulent” meals on doctors, including a nearly $10,000 dinner for three at the Japanese restaurant, Nobu, to
  • induce them to prescribe its drugs.
    induced pharmacies to switch thousands of kidney transplant patients to its drug Myfortic in exchange for kickbacks disguised as rebates and discounts.
  • paid doctors to speak about its drugs in programs that were supposed to have educational purposes, but which in reality were often social occasions or not held at all.

This is not the first time Novartis has been alleged to be involved in illegal activity. In September 2010, the company agreed to pay $422.5 million to resolve criminal and civil liability over its questionable marketing practices. Unfortunately, other drug and medical device manufacturers don’t fare any better. In 2012, Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay a $2.2 billion to settle allegations of illegal kickbacks. In 2008, Bayer agreed to pay $97.5 million to settle allegations that it paid kickbacks to medical suppliers to boost sales of its diabetes products. Unfortunately, this list goes on and on.

Manufacturers Must Be Held Responsible

Pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers must be held accountable for their actions, whether those actions consist of illegal kickbacks or making, selling and distributing dangerous or defective products. If you’ve been injured by a drug manufacturer, you do have recourse. Contact The Driscoll Firm, LLC, and speak with one of our product liability attorneys to find out how. We’ve collected over $170 million for our clients who have been harmed by dangerous drugs, defective medical devices and careless companies.

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