Big Pharma Firm Agrees to Pay $900M Settlement in Bribery Case but Maintains Innocence


Biogen, a Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical company, will pay $900 million to settle allegations that it bribed doctors to prescribe the company’s multiple sclerosis drugs, the Department of Justice announced Monday evening.

The lawsuit was initially brought by former employee Michael Bawduniak, who alleged the company offered or paid out kickbacks in the form of speaking fees and consultancy fees, which resulted in false claims being made to Medicaid and Medicare, according to a DOJ news release.

The Civil War-era False Claims Act allows private individuals to file suit on behalf of the federal government in exchange for a portion of the recovered funds, netting Bawduniak approximately $250 million of the $843.8 million awarded to the federal government, according to The Wall Street Journal.

In addition to the federal payment, $56.2 million will be divided among 15 states, the outlet reported.

“Biogen believes its intent and conduct was at all times lawful and appropriate and Biogen denies all allegations raised in this case,” the company said in a statement to the Daily Caller News Foundation.

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Biogen also noted the U.S. government did not directly “intervene” and a settlement was not an admission of guilt.

“[Bawduniak] diligently pursued this matter on behalf of the United States for over seven years,” Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said in the DOJ’s news release.

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“The settlement announced today underscores the critical role that whistleblowers play in complementing the United States’ use of the False Claims Act to combat fraud affecting federal healthcare programs,” Boynton said.

The lawsuit’s conclusion comes as a recent study alleged that some pharmaceutical companies were avoiding anti-kickback provisions by donating to charities that, in turn, would purchase their products.

By donating to charities for diseases with limited treatment options, companies allegedly were able to induce purchases of their drugs, in violation of anti-kickback laws.

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The DOJ did not immediately respond to the DCNF’s request for comment.

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