Amgen Inc. is the world's largest Independent Biotechnology Firm which is likely most well know to Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients for one of its top selling medications, Epogen (a prescription medicine used to treat a lower than normal number of red blood cells which cause anemia).
Well now, Amgen has agreed to pay seventy-one million dollars to settle a lawsuit that alleged the company unlawfully promoted Aranesp and Enbrel for off-label uses (use of a pharmaceutical drug in an unapproved age group, dosage, or administration process). Aranesp specifically was approved to treat anemia caused by Kidney Disease, but it appears that Amgen violated consumer Protection Laws by promoting this anemia drug for dosing frequencies longer than the Food and Drug Administration previously approved.
Recommended Reading: Leading Large Dialysis Organization Under Federal Investigation Again After Kickbacks Settlement
This is not the first time Amgen has been forced to agree to a major settlement due to misleading off-label use. For instance, just in 2012, Amgen pleaded guilty in a Federal New York Court for misbranding as well as illegal kickbacks, and was ordered to pay approximately seven hundred and sixty-two million dollars in a civil settlement and criminal fines.
While Amgen suggested that the new settlement "resolves some of the same matters addressed in 2012...," the Biotech company is certainly not alone in major lawsuits. Both of the largest Dialysis providers in the United States, DaVita Healthcare Partners Inc., and Fresenius Medical Care Holdings Inc., have been ordered to pay millions in various settlements for misconduct and illegal actions over the years.
California Attorney General, Kamala Harris said, “Amgen’s false marketing denied consumers the ability to make educated decisions about their healthcare. This settlement will hold the company accountable for its deceptive marketing and prevent it from using misleading practices in the future.” What do you think: Should Amgen be forced to pay millions in settlements for misleading Chronic Kidney Disease and Dialysis patients?
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