Novartis in the spotlight in mis-selling investigations


Swiss firm Novartis is being sued by the attorney general’s office in New York, US, for alleged mis-selling of its iron-chelating drug Exjade (deferasirox). The suit also implicates a New York pharmacy, BioScrip, which accepted kickback payments from Novartis in exchange for convincing patients to continue using the drug.

BioScrip has agreed in principle to pay $15 million (£9 million) to reimburse costs to Medicare and Medicaid, the national schemes that help subsidise prescriptions for poorer patients in the US.

The drug is used to remove excess iron from the bodies of patients who require regular blood transfusions. The suit alleges that Novartis offered incentives to the pharmacy to keep patients taking Exjade for as long as possible, and that BioScrip downplayed the drug’s side effects to encourage patients to continue or resume taking it.

‘This arrangement between Novartis and BioScrip was dangerous for patients and is against the law,’ attorney general Eric Schneiderman said in a statement. ‘Our lawsuit against Novartis and our agreement with BioScrip send a clear message: Drug companies cannot pay pharmacies to promote drugs directly to patients.’

The US suit comes alongside an ongoing investigation of Novartis in Japan, where the health ministry has now filed a criminal complaint against the company over allegations of data fabrication in clinical trials relating to its blood pressure drug Diovan (valsartan). 


Related Content

Weathering the storm

6 January 2014 Business

news image

Pharmaceutical industry roundup 2013

Mis-selling lands J&J with $2.2bn fine

11 November 2013 Business

news image

Company found guilty of promoting three drugs for unapproved uses

Most Read

First pictures of hydrogen bonds unveiled

26 September 2013 Research

news image

Observation of intermolecular interactions in quinolines could help to settle the nature of this kind of bonding

Copper catalysis overcomes double bond trouble

3 July 2015 Research

news image

Stubbornly stable unactivated internal alkenes become chiral tertiary amine precursors

Most Commented

Collaboration, not competition

29 June 2015 Research

news image

Organic chemist E J Corey talks to Phillip Broadwith about awards, ambition and academic freedom

Z machine puts the squeeze on metallic deuterium

25 June 2015 Research

news image

Pressures similar to those at centre of the Earth forge metallic deuterium in step toward 80-year-old dream of creating metal...