Accidental court filing reveals Novartis' kickback settlement talks: report

fiercepharma | June 12, 2019

After six years of legal wrangling and unflattering headlines, Novartis appears close to putting a doctor kickback lawsuit behind it—and the revelation came from a court filing that was supposed to be kept secret. The whistleblower suit against Novartis, joined by the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) in 2013, claimed the drugmaker used sham educational events as cover for kickbacks to doctors. In exchange for fancy dinners, fishing trips and other entertainment, Novartis was basically buying prescriptions for its cardiovascular meds Lotrel and Valturna and diabetes drug Starlix, the suit claims. The company reportedly has been negotiating a settlement worth up to $1 billion, which would rank it among the biggest-ever marketing settlements in pharma. Tuesday, a letter filed in the court’s docket and then quickly removed said the two sides had made “significant progress” toward a settlement, Bloomberg reported. U.S. Attorney Geoffrey Berman intended for the letter to stay confidential as the talks are ongoing, but it was mistakenly posted publicly for a short time, the news service noted. The letter showed a settlement proposal has been submitted to the DOJ for expedited approval. Berman said the settlement will be “substantially complete” by June 18, and the parties have until Aug. 18 to finalize it.

Spotlight

Forty-four U.S. states have filed a lawsuit against 20 drug companies including Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. They're accused of concocting a sweeping scheme to inflate drug prices and stifle competition for more than 100 generic drugs. The drugs treated conditions including diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer, epilepsy and more.

Spotlight

Forty-four U.S. states have filed a lawsuit against 20 drug companies including Teva Pharmaceuticals USA Inc. They're accused of concocting a sweeping scheme to inflate drug prices and stifle competition for more than 100 generic drugs. The drugs treated conditions including diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure, cancer, epilepsy and more.

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