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Amgen To Supreme Court: Please Legalize Kickbacks

  • Bnet, Thursday, September 29, 2011 10 AM
Amgen is arguing to the Supreme Court that the federal False Claims Act is "draconian" because some courts say it doesn't allow doctors to take a kickback before applying to Medicaid or Medicare for reimbursement. The appeal comes in a case where Amgen is accused of giving doctors free supplies of an injectable anemia drug, Aranesp. The doctors can bill Medicaid and Medicare for the free drugs even though they haven't paid Amgen for them, so the free drugs amount to a cash incentive to prescribe Amgen's brand.

Amgen's would like to make it easier for drug companies to reward doctors with cash or credit for using their drugs. And taxpayer-funded healthcare programs would have to reimburse the companies unless they could prove the rewards were kickbacks. But Medicare and Medicaid could discern that 23 drug companies had billed them for vitamins by faking approval codes as if they were prescription drugs. If the Supremes agree with Amgen, it will gut the Anti-Kickback Statute. Amgen argues that just because doctors received kickbacks doesn't mean they shouldn't get paid. They did, after all, actually treat patients. More here...



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