Celgene Corp. to pay $280M to settle cancer drug fraud suit

LOS ANGELES — A New Jersey pharmaceutical company has agreed to pay $280 million to settle a federal lawsuit alleging it committed fraud by promoting a drug for leprosy and another therapy for unapproved cancer treatments, federal prosecutors announced Tuesday.

The agreement settled claims made in Los Angeles federal court by a former sales manager who said Celgene submitted false claims to Medicare and health care programs in 28 states and Washington, D.C., which were all parties to the settlement.

Beverly Brown had worked as an “immunology specialist” who was trained to aggressively promote Thalomid and Revlimid drugs for cancer treatments that had not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

Thalomid, another name for thalidomide, a drug prescribed for morning sickness in the 1950s and 1960s that caused severe birth defects, was approved in 1998 for treating about a fraction of the few hundred leprosy cases diagnosed in the U.S. each year, according to court filings. Revlimid is derived from thalidomide and was a successor to the earlier drug.

While the two drugs were later approved for limited cancer treatments, the company promoted them widely to doctors for multiple kinds of cancer years in advance of approvals, the lawsuit said.

The lawsuit claimed Celgene used false and misleading statements and paid kickbacks to doctors to prescribe the drugs.

A judge threw out the kickbacks allegation, but allowed the lawsuit to move forward.

Celgene denied wrongdoing and settled to avoid uncertainty, distraction and expensive litigation, the company said in a statement.

Brown, who brought the case in 2010 on behalf of the U.S. government under a federal whistleblower law, could receive 25 per cent to 30 per cent of the settlement — as much as $84 million.

“I’m extremely pleased to have been a part of recouping this amount of money for the taxpayer and for seeing our courageous client Beverly Brown vindicated in pursuing this matter,” her lawyer, Thomas Bienert, said.

Just Posted

Blackfalds firefighter battling cancer

A volunteer firefighter in Blackfalds for 15 years, Dave Sutherland now battling… Continue reading

Red Deer transit users are concerned about the future

But recreation centre users are glad facility hours were maintained

Community cardiac awareness dinner and show to be held

Continued focus to bring cardiac catheterization lab to Red Deer

Red Deer businesses react to 2.02 per cent tax increase for 2018

Chamber would prefer zero increase, while DBA thinks it’s reasonable

Bring on the rodeo says Red Deer County mayor

Canadian Finals Rodeo’s move to Red Deer good for whole region, says Red Deer County Mayor Jim Wood

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

RDC chosen to host 2019 men’s volleyball national championship

Sports enthusiasts in Red Deer will have more to look forward to… Continue reading

Police is still looking for Second World War army passport owner

No one has claimed a rare Second World War German army passport… Continue reading

DJ Sabatoge and TR3 Band kick off Sylvan Lake’s Winterfest 2018

Central Alberta’s youngest DJ will open for TR3 Band kicking off Town… Continue reading

Two Canadians, two Americans abducted in Nigeria are freed

Kidnapping for ransom is common in Nigeria, especially on the Kaduna to Abuja highway

WATCH news on the go: Replay Red Deer Jan. 21

Watch news highlights from Red Deer and Central Alberta

Liberals quietly tap experts to write new paternity leave rules

Ideas include creating an entirely new leave benefit similar to one that exists in Quebec

Insurers say Canadian weather getting hotter, wetter and weirder

Average number of days with heavy rain or snow across Canada has been outside norm since spring 2013

Are you ready for some wrestling? WWE’s ‘Raw’ marks 25 years

WWE flagship show is set to mark its 25th anniversary on Monday

Most Read


Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $185 for 260 issues (must live in delivery area to qualify) Unlimited Digital Access 99 cents for the first four weeks and then only $15 per month Five-day delivery plus unlimited digital access for $15 a month