U.S is holding Novartis AG accountable for government accusations of having entertained medical practitioners in order to have them prescribe the company’s cardiovascular drugs to their patients. The record asked for by the US numbers these sham events to 80,000 .
In a mud slinging lawsuit, the Swiss drug making company and a Manhattan US attorney are engaged in trying to prove the other wrong. The US attorney has asked the company to explain itself on the alleged illegal kickbacks it provided to healthcare workers through fake educational programs at high-end restaurants and sports bars, where the drugs were rarely discussed.
The U.S in a filing has asked Novartis to come up with information to support its allegation that the company defrauded federal health-care programs of hundreds of millions of dollars over a decade by inducing doctors to prescribe its medications through sham speaker events.
According to a government court filing, the documents are supposed to address the core issues of whether doctors attended the events; money that was spent on meals and honorariam; whether educational material was distributed or not and most importantly whether a particular event took place at all.
That filing came in response to a March 22 request by Novartis to the judge, seeking a hearing because the company said the U.S. had over exaggerated on the size of the case by demanding information for as many as 80,000 promotional events set up by its salespeople. Representatives of Basel-based Novartis didn’t immediately respond to an e-mail sent Saturday seeking comment on the government’s filing.
Last year Novartis agreed to pay $390 million to settle a lawsuit in which the US government claimed the company paid kickbacks to pharmacies to boost sales of some of its drugs. (Bloomberg)