Amgen Inc. has paid the government $15 million to settle allegations that the company paid kickbacks to doctors and medical groups to induce them to prescribe a cancer drug, according to the federal Department of Justice.
The Thousand Oaks biopharmaceutical company was accused of using data-purchase agreements to increase sales of the drug Xgeva. The government said Amgen paid doctors a small fee to fill out a short online survey on how they were treating patients with bone cancer, but then over time increased the payments for doctors who prescribed Xgeva.
Amgen also provided cash payments disguised as honoraria to oncologists and urologists for participating in audience response sessions, data market research surveys and another program that touted the benefits of Xgeva, the government said.
The settlement with the government resolves a whistleblower lawsuit originally filed by two former Amgen employees. The two men will receive $2.75 million as part of the settlement.
The agreement was disclosed on July 11 but not widely reported.
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