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Wed May 29, 2019, 01:07 PM

Pharmaceutical Company to Pay $3.5M to Resolve Allegations of Paying Kickbacks to Doctors

PHILADELPHIA – U.S. Attorney William M. McSwain announced that pharmaceutical company Almirall, LLC, formerly named Aqua Pharmaceuticals, LLC (“Aqua”), will pay $3.5 million to resolve allegations that it employed illegal kickbacks to incentivize physicians to prescribe Aqua’s dermatology pharmaceutical drugs.

The settlement resolves allegations that, between 2012 and 2017, Aqua knowingly paid kickbacks to dermatology providers in order to induce prescriptions of their drugs. Aqua, through its sales representatives and other employees, allegedly provided physicians with improper in-office and out-of-office meals and food items, entertainment, trips, gift cards, and gifts. It also engaged health care providers for speaking engagements, advisory boards, and consulting services where one purpose of the compensation was to induce providers to prescribe Aqua drugs.

“Federal law is designed to ensure that doctors and other providers are not improperly influenced by pharmaceutical companies in deciding which drugs to prescribe,” said U.S. Attorney McSwain. “Our office will do everything in its power to ensure that pharmaceutical companies and prescribers are playing by the rules and that they are not enriching themselves at the expense of patients’ well-being, especially those covered by Medicare and Tricare, the insurance for members of the armed services. This settlement is just the latest example of our office’s strong partnership with HHS-OIG and the Defense Health Agency to protect the integrity of our health care programs.”

“Pharmaceutical companies that ignore rules designed to protect patients will be held accountable. Patients must be able to trust that decisions made by their doctors are based on unbiased professional judgment and not personal gain,” said Maureen R. Dixon, Special Agent in Charge of the Office of the Inspector General for the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services in Philadelphia. “We will continue to work with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in this District to root out all forms of waste, fraud and abuse in our federal health care programs.”

Read more: https://www.justice.gov/usao-edpa/pr/pharmaceutical-company-pay-35m-resolve-allegations-paying-kickbacks-doctors

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Reply Pharmaceutical Company to Pay $3.5M to Resolve Allegations of Paying Kickbacks to Doctors (Original post)
TexasTowelie May 29 OP
procon May 29 #1
TexasTowelie May 29 #2

Response to TexasTowelie (Original post)

Wed May 29, 2019, 01:32 PM

1. Its a slap on the wrist considering these Big Pharma companies pocket BILLIONS

in profits to exploit a gullible public. If justice would be served then the penalties should be based on a large percentage of the profits they made, say 50%... 66% of every dollar they took in. That's the only effective deterrent that might check the builtin greed of capitalism.

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Response to procon (Reply #1)

Wed May 29, 2019, 01:55 PM

2. Out of curiosity I checked and their revenues were $25.4M and they employ between 51-100 people.

Considering the money that they paid for the kickbacks along with legal expenses the fine is pretty significant (between 2% and 3% of total revenue over the timeframe). I'm not absolving the company of their crimes, but this isn't one of the big fish.

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