Saturday, October 31, 2009

Amgen sued by 15 states in Aranesp overfill billing matter

The LATimes reports that Amgen was sued in D. Mass, on 30 Oct. 09 by 15 states who accused Amgen sales representatives of encouraging doctors and other healthcare providers to bill insurers for the drug Aranesp that the practitioners received free from Amgen.

The concept of overfill, wherein for vial medicine standards require that drug makers include a small amount of medicine in excess of the prescribed dosage, was extended for Aranesp.

The LATimes noted:

However, the suit alleges that at least as far back as 2002, Amgen manufactured Aranesp with overfills that were well above the recommended amounts. According to the suit, the overfill allowed doctors, hospitals and other medical providers to bill their patients' insurers for medicine that the provider had essentially gotten free.

"In offering the overfill inducement to medical providers, Amgen's sales force encouraged medical providers to administer higher doses of Aranesp to patients without any clinical need for that higher dose," the states allege.

Amgen prepared spreadsheets calculating potential revenue from overfill billings that the drug maker's sales reps could show to their clients during office visits, the lawsuit contends.

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