Pharmaceutical manufacturer Celgene Corp. agreed to pay $280 million to settle claims that it illegally promoted two cancer drugs, Thalomid and Revlimid, for unapproved uses. The case was filed by a former Celgene sales representative under the False Claims Act, which allows individuals to sue to recover government dollars and share in any recovery.
The New York Times reports that Revlimid was Celgene’s leading product, yielding $7 billion in sales in 2016. Thalomid brought in another $152 million the same year. According to the whistleblower’s complaint, sales were driven by aggressive marketing for a broad range of cancers the drugs were not approved to treat.
In a Department of Justice statement, Acting United States Attorney Sandra R. Brown said “[p]atients deserve to know their doctors are prescribing drugs that are likely to provide effective treatment, rather than drugs marketed aggressively by pharmaceutical companies.”
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