US sues Teva for alleged MS drug kickback scheme

The U.S. government filed a lawsuit against Teva Pharmaceuticals Aug. 18, alleging the Israeli drugmaker illegally funneled $300 million worth of Medicare copayments for its multiple sclerosis drug through two charitable organizations that claim to be independent.

The complaint claims Teva paid the Chronic Disease Fund and The Assistance Fund to cover Medicare copayments for patients using Copaxone from 2006-15. The Justice Department claims this caused hundreds of thousands of dollars' worth of false claims, which led to large revenue sums for Teva.

The U.S. government alleges Teva used kickbacks to evade federal efforts aimed at lowering drug prices. Copaxone generated $435 million in revenue in North America alone during the first six months of 2020.

"Unbound by any market check on pricing due to its payment of illegal kickbacks, Teva left American taxpayers to shoulder the high prices that Teva set for Copaxone, while Teva reaped for itself the resulting profits," the court document reads.

The lawsuit seeks triple damages for Teva's violations of the federal False Claims Act.

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