FRAUD AND CANCER TREATMENT:
As I investigate medications used for my cancer treatment, I turn up stories of fraudulent drug pricing practices that implicate pharmaceutical companies and physicians, practices that resulted in huge multimillion dollar fines.
*** (1)From a federal lawsuit about cancer treatment fraud, dated 2001:
TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc. ("TAP"), a major American pharmaceutical manufacturer, has agreed to pay $875,000,000 to resolve criminal charges and civil liabilities in connection with its fraudulent drug pricing and marketing conduct with regard to Lupron, a drug sold by TAP primarily for treatment of advanced prostate cancer in men.
*** (2) From a NY Times article June 21, 2003
AstraZeneca Pleads Guilty in Cancer Medicine Scheme
By MELODY PETERSEN
WILMINGTON, Del., June 20 — AstraZeneca , the large pharmaceutical company, pleaded guilty today to a felony charge of health care fraud and agreed to pay $355 million to settle criminal and civil accusations that it engaged in a nationwide scheme to illegally market a prostate cancer drug.
The government said the company's employees had given illegal financial inducements to as many as 400 doctors across the country to persuade them to prescribe the drug, Zoladex. Those inducements included thousands of free samples of Zoladex, worth hundreds of dollars each, which the physicians then billed to Medicare and other federal health care programs, prosecutors said. The company also gave doctors financial grants, paid them as consultants and provided free travel and entertainment, the government said.
The $355 million that AstraZeneca, a British company, agreed to pay is among the largest settlements in a heath care fraud case. Of that amount, about $64 million is a criminal fine. The company will pay about $266 million to the federal government to settle most of the civil accusations. An additional $25 million will go to settle accusations that it defrauded the Medicaid programs, which are partly financed by the states.
(The story develops ...)