The world’s largest biotechnology company pleaded guilty in federal court today for improper marketing practices involving its anemia drug Aranesp, and says it will pay $762 million in a combination of civil settlements and criminal fines. It won’t lose out on any federal business or contracts, however, which would’ve been a veritable death knell for the company.
The company said it’d already set aside that cash after a slew of federal and state investigations and civil lawsuits, reports Reuters, which is good because that’s a hefty chunk of change that can’t be picked out of couch cushions.
Aranesp is one of Amgen’s bestsellers, and is used primarily to treat anemia in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The company was accused of pushing Aranesp for anemia caused by cancer, instead of combating anemia as a side effect of chemo treatments. It’s not approved for the latter.
Other accusations leveled against Amgen said the company peddled higher doses and more convenient treatment schedules than what it was approved for on its label, with the government saying it did so to help Agmen compete with Johnson & Johnson’s similar drug Procrit.
Making sure your company beats out the competition is one thing, but marketing drugs that aren’t in the patients’ best interests is an all too common phenomenon with these ginormous drug companies.
Amgen isn’t the only one hurting in this regard, as Pfizer was recently hit with a $42 million fine for as seen recently with Pfizer’s $42 million fine for marketing some of its drugs for purposes other than its approved uses.