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State health programs to benefit from national settlement with Amgen

Washington State Attorney General Rob McKenna today announced that Washington joined with other states and the federal government to reach an agreement with Amgen, Inc., settling allegations that the drug-maker illegally marketed several drugs.

“In order to protect taxpayers, federal and state law guides the way drugs are marketed to government healthcare programs,” said McKenna. “We allege Amgen broke those laws, misrepresenting drugs in a way that overcharged our healthcare programs.”

Amgen will pay the states and the federal government a total of $612 million in civil damages and penalties to compensate Medicaid, Medicare, and various federal healthcare programs for harm suffered as a result of its illegal marketing and pricing of Aranesp, Enbrel, Epogen, Neulasta, Neupogen and Sensipar. Washington’s share of the settlement is $979,410, of which about $511,000 is returned to the federal government, which splits with the states spending on Medicaid. Washington state’s share of the settlement will help fund healthcare services for the needy and support additional fraud-protection work.

In addition, Amgen has agreed to plead guilty to violating the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). Government prosecutors allege that Amgen engaged in several improper marketing and pricing practices, including illegally marketing several of the drugs at issue, and paying kickbacks to influence health care providers. As a condition of the settlement, Amgen will enter into a Corporate Integrity Agreement with the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, Office of the Inspector General, which will closely monitor the company’s future marketing and sales practices.

A National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units team participated in the investigation and conducted the settlement negotiations with Amgen on behalf of the settling states.

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