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18 April 2013

Pharma giant pays out $24.9m in whistleblower case

Californian biopharmaceutical company Amgen has agreed to pay $24.9 million to resolve claims that it paid sweeteners to pharmacies so that elderly patients in nursing homes would be switched to Amgen drugs.

By James Barnes

Delaware law firm Grant & Eisenhofer represented whistleblower Frank Kurnik - a long-time Amgen employee.

Pharmaceutical safety

Reuben Guttman, a Grant & Eisenhofer partner who heads the firm’s whistleblower practice, said that yesterday’s settlement agreement sets an important precedent to the medical community. ‘The conduct alleged in this case is yet another example of the pharmaceutical industry placing marketing goals over patient needs,’ he said.
Mr Guttman continued: ‘The alleged conduct affected some of the most vulnerable of our citizens – the elderly in nursing homes. For situations like this, there has to be a pharmaceutical safety and investigation board to make an even broader report to the public so that this never happens again. We hope this settlement is an impetus for Congress to act.’

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