Biogen pays $900M to settle doctor kickback allegations

BOSTON (AP) — Biogen has agreed to pay $900 million to resolve allegations that it violated federal law by paying kickbacks to doctors to persuade them to prescribe its multiple sclerosis drugs, federal prosecutors said.

The agreement announced Monday settles a whistleblower lawsuit brought by former Biogen employee Michael Bawduniak, according to a statement from the office of U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, Rachael Rollins.

Under the terms of the settlement, Biogen will pay more than $843 million to the federal government and more than $56 million to 15 states for overbilling Medicare and Medicaid insurance programs. Bawduniak will receive a portion of the federal recovery.

The Cambridge, Massachusetts-based pharmaceutical company in a statement said it settled so it can focus on “our patients and strategic priorities" and said the settlement does not include an admission of liability.

“Biogen believes its intent and conduct was at all times lawful and appropriate and Biogen denies all allegations raised in this case," the company's statement said.

The lawsuit alleged that from January 2009 through March 2014, Biogen paid physicians speaking fees, consulting fees and bought them meals that were actually kickbacks, to get them to prescribe Avonex, Tysabri and Tecfidera in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute.

“We thank Mr. Bawduniak for uncovering this behavior and bringing it to light,” Rollins said. “This matter is an important example of the vital role that whistleblowers and their attorneys can play in protecting our nation’s public health care programs.”

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