Monday, October 26, 2020

Teva Pharmaceuticals to pay $54 million to settle doctor bribery claims

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Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. and two subsidiaries agreed to pay $54 million to settle allegations in a whistleblower lawsuit that the company improperly paid physicians to serve as speakers or consultants to boost prescriptions for two Teva products.

The settlement was announced by the Philadelphia law firm McEldrew Young and Shepherd, which along with the firm Finkelman, Miller & Shah, also of Philadelphia, represented two former Teva sales representatives in the matter.

According to the lawsuit filed in 2013, Teva allegedly induced doctors to write prescriptions for the drugs Copaxone and Azilect, and influenced other doctors to do the same, by paying them as “speakers” or “consultants.” Many of the speaker programs, according to the complaint, were “sham events.” Copaxone is a multiple sclerosis treatment. Azilect is a Parkinson’s disease drug,

A spokesperson for Teva said the company had no comment on the settlement.

Teva Pharmaceuticals USA is a division of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. (NYSE: TEVA), which is based in Israel and has its U.S. headquarters in North Jersey. Teva also has large operations in Montgomery and Chester counties in suburban Philadelphia.

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According to the complaint, Teva’s alleged actions caused the submission of improper claims to the government in violations of the False Claims Act, and also violated the government’s Anti-Kickback Statute, which prohibits a pharmaceutical manufacturer from offering, directly or indirectly, any remuneration to induce a physician to prescribe that manufacturer’s drugs.

The whistleblower lawsuit was filed in May 2013. In November 2014, the U.S., along with the various state and municipal governments that were also named as plaintiffs in the complaint, notified the court of their decision not to intervene in the case.

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