Patient charities pay $6M to settle Medicare kickback allegations

Maia Anderson - Print  | 

The Chronic Disease Foundation and the Patient Access Network Foundation paid $6 million to settle claims they helped drugmakers pay kickbacks to Medicare patients, according to STAT

The two foundations are known as patient assistance charities, which provide financial assistance to Medicare beneficiaries who can't afford their out-of-pocket costs.

Prosecutors said that by funneling money from drugmakers to patients, these charities ensured Medicare beneficiaries didn't have to consider the high cost of their drugs and also lowered the chances they'd take rival drugs.

The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits drugmakers from offering or paying any remuneration, directly or indirectly, including money or anything else of value, to induce Medicare or other federal programs to purchase their drugs. 

The U.S. Justice Department alleged the charities made it possible for drugmakers to evade the statute, according to STAT

The feds alleged that CDF conspired with five drugmakers — Novartis, Dendreon, Astellas, Onyx and Questcor — between 2010 and 2014 to allow them to pay kickbacks to Medicare patients taking their drugs. They alleged PANF conspired with four drugmakers — Bayer, Astellas, Dendreon and Amgen — to commit the same crime. 

CDF agreed to pay $2 million and PANF agreed to pay $4 million to settle the allegations. 

Read the full article here

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