Amgen pays $24.9 Million to resolve whistleblower case for kickbacks on Aranesp drug

Amgen Inc has agreed to pay the U.S. $24.9 million to settle a False Claims Act case alleging it paid kickbacks to long term care pharmacy providers Omnicare Inc., PharMerica Corp. and Kindred Healthcare in return for implementing programs which switched Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries from a competitor drug to Aranesp. The kickbacks took the form of performance based rebates that were tied to market share or volum thresholds. In addition as part of the program, Amgen distributed materials to consultant pharmacists and nursing home staff encouraging the use of Aranesp for patients who did not have anemia associated with chronic renal failure. The case was filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of South Carolina. Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers.