From the Associated Press:
A multibillion dollar medicare fraud case has been revived. Two former reps from J&J alleged kickbacks were paid to oncologists and other doctors in an effort to boost sales of Procrit/Eprex. These drugs are used to stimulate red blood cell growth and are often administered to patients who have cancer, AIDS or are undergoing kidney dialysis.
A couple of interesting facts about the case are that the federal government has put restrictions on which patients can access the drug due to the potential for harm to patients, including allowing cancer to progress. This case involves inducing doctors to over prescribe, in some cases by one third, the drugs to patients in order to improve sales. It is also noted that this wasn't an exception, this is actually how the drug was marketed.
The drug was delivered in the doctors office at a discount, but then medicare was charged the full amount.
It is J&J's third leading drug with sales of up to 2.5 billion dollars, annually.
J&J's competition is Amgen with their drug Aranesp.
Hmm, Amgen, who recently gave 5 million dollars to Senator Edward Kennedy for his Institute, in exchange for Kennedy to convince congress to increase patent protection laws, which delays the approval of generics.... Funny how Kennedy who has worked all his life to get health care to the people, can be made to forget is life's passion and principles for 5 million dollars - but I digress....
Patients health were knowingly jeopardized by having doctors over prescribe the drug. What this case must do is bring to light any oncologist who participated in this plan. Presumably it was quite effective. in 2006 J&J's sales of Procrit were 3.6 billion dollars.....