2 pharma companies to pay nearly $125M to settle kickback allegations

Amgen and Astellas Pharma will pay nearly $125 million to resolve allegations that they illegally used copay assistance foundations to encourage Medicare patients to buy their drugs, the U.S. Justice Department said last week.

The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits drugmakers from offering any form of remuneration, including money, to induce Medicare patients to purchase the drugs.  

"When pharmaceutical companies use foundations to create funds that are used improperly to subsidize the copays of only their own drugs, it violates the law and undercuts a key safeguard against rising drug costs," said Assistant Attorney General Jody Hunt of the Justice Department's civil division. "These enforcement actions make clear that the government will hold accountable drug companies that directly or indirectly pay illegal kickbacks."

Astellas will pay $100 million. Amgen will pay $24.75 million.

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