According to a recent quarterly earnings report issued by Biogen, the company has settled an ongoing whistleblower lawsuit for $900 million. The lawsuit, filed by a former employee in 2012, accused the company of directing millions of dollars in kickbacks in "sham" consulting deals and speaker programs, lavish dinners, and entertainment to prescribe Biogen's multiple sclerosis (MS) drugs. The settlement comes just days before a trial was set to begin.
According to the relator's trial brief, Biogen’s kickbacks to HCPs took four forms:
• Consulting meeting fraud;
• Speaker programs where Biogen systematically provided HCPs with sizable honoraria, lavish dinners, alcohol, and other entertainment;
• Blunting the entry of Novartis' MS Drug, Gilenya, into the market; and
• Compensation to HCP consultants and speakers that exceeded Fair Market Value.
According to the complaint, the multimillion-dollar kickback scheme capitalized on the unique nature of MS, which is an incurable disease for which only a small group of products, known as Immunomodulating agents (IMA), are approved for treatment. The annual cost of IMA drugs for a single patient is between $35,000 and $70,000.
A copy of the Biogen 2022 Second Quarter Report is available here.
For more information regarding enforcement action settlements, please see the Government Prosecutions section of the Enforcement Actions Database.