Avanir Pharmaceuticals to pay $116M to settle bribery charges

Avanir Pharmaceuticals agreed to pay $116 million to settle a lawsuit alleging it illegally marketed its drug Nuedexta, according to STAT.

The lawsuit alleges Aliso Viejo, Calif.-based Avanir bribed physicians to prescribe Nuedexta, approved to treat a condition that causes uncontrollable laughing and crying.

At the same time, two Ohio physicians were indicted for allegedly accepting bribes such as money, office equipment and firearms training in exchange for writing Nuedexta prescriptions for patients who did not need it.

The U.S. Justice Department also indicted two former Avanir sales representatives for allegedly providing the bribes, according to STAT.

The lawsuit also alleges Avanir capitalized on efforts by Medicare and Medicaid to reduce the use of antipsychotics in nursing home dementia patients by claiming Nuedexta could reduce dependence on antipsychotics, though no data exists to prove that claim.

The Justice Department alleged the scheme took place from 2010 to 2016.

Read the full article here.

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