Pharma companies to pay $67M for misleading physicians about cancer drug

Pharmaceutical companies Farmingdale, N.Y.-based Genentech and South San Francisco, Calif.-based OSI Pharmaceuticals have agreed to pay $67 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations, according to the Department of Justice.

The companies co-promote Tarceva, which is approved to treat certain patients with non-small cell long cancer or pancreatic cancer. The settlement resolves allegations that between January 2006 and December 2011 the companies made misleading statements to physicians about the effectiveness of Tarceva in treating patients with non-small cell lung cancer. The government alleged that there was little evidence to show that Tarceva was effective with those patients unless they had never smoked or had a mutation in a protein known as the epidermal growth factor receptor.

The allegations were originally brought by a former Genentech employee in a lawsuit filed under the whistle-blower provision of the False Claims Act.

As a result of the settlement, the federal government will receive $62.6 million and state Medicaid programs will receive $4.4 million.

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