Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Novartis Again Accused of health care fraud In New York Lawsuit

The Justice Department has accused a Novartis a Swiss based pharmaceutical Company of providing kickbacks to pharmacies to switch patients to a Novartis drug used to prevent rejection of kidney transplants.
This is a health care lawsuit filed in Manhattan against Novartis and they are seeking monetary damages. According to news reports, the lawsuit alleges that since 2005, Novartis has offered "performance" rebates and discounts to at least 20 U.S. pharmacies in exchange for the pharmacies' efforts to switch patients to the Novartis transplant drug Myfortic from competing drugs. In one case they allege that a LA pharmacist was given rebates of 5% of the pharmacist’s annual sales. This action by Novartis is against the federal kick-back law.
Novartis has a history or illegal marketing practices like many other major Bigpharma firms. Just in 2010 Novartis was fined over $400 million for illegally marketing a drug. They pleaded guilty which settle criminal charges.
In the past pharmaceutical companies use their Pharma sales representatives to promote their drugs via kick-backs like travel junkets, entertainment offers, and monetary discounts. This continual Parma fraud is pushed by the drug maker and accepted as practice by their sales representatives and by the pharmacist. The unethical behavior runs down the line to all involved. So the pharma drug the consumer receives may not be the best drug for the consumer, but it is the best for your pharmacists and their agent and Bigpharma. Irresponsible behavior and out ethics and out right fraud is rampant in the pharmaceutical system. Nobody is taking a stand as all involved are looking out for their best interest.
News reports quoted U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara said that the company used the "lure of kickbacks disguised as rebates" to turn certain pharmacists into salespeople for one of its drugs. He says the company's actions caused the public to pay tens of millions of dollars for kickback-tainted drugs dispensed by pharmacists who had buddied up to it.
Novartis says it disputes the claims and will defend itself.