US claims Regeneron paid kickbacks via charity to boost expensive drug

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The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday sued Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc , accusing it of using a charity that helps cover Medicare patients' drug costs as a means to pay kickbacks for using its expensive macular degeneration drug Eylea.

FILE PHOTO: The Department of Justice logo is seen on the podium during a news conference in New York January 23, 2013. REUTERS/Carlo Allegri

25 Jun 2020 01:15AM
(Updated: 25 Jun 2020 01:35AM)

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BOSTON: The U.S. Justice Department on Wednesday sued Regeneron Pharmaceuticals Inc , accusing it of using a charity that helps cover Medicare patients' drug costs as a means to pay kickbacks for using its expensive macular degeneration drug Eylea.

The government filed a lawsuit against the company in federal court in Boston, the latest case to result from an industry-wide probe of drugmakers' financial support of patient assistance charities.

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Drug companies are prohibited from subsidizing co-payments for patients enrolled in the government healthcare program for those aged 65 and older. Companies may donate to non-profits providing co-pay assistance as long as they are independent.

But the lawsuit said Tarrytown, New York-based Regeneron following the launch of Eylea in 2011 began funneling tens of millions of dollars through a patient assistance foundation to ensure virtually no one on Medicare had to pay co-pays.

The lawsuit said the scheme helped Regeneron boost sales for the drug, which typically costs over US$10,000 per year. From 2013 to 2014, when the scheme was operating, Medicare paid US$1.9 billion for Eylea, the lawsuit said.

Regeneron in a statement said it would vigorously defend itself. "We do not believe there is any merit to the complaint,"Read More – Source