(Reuters) – The US government sued Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. on Tuesday and accused the drugmaker of causing false claims to Medicare as a result of kickbacks it paid for its multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone
In a complaint filed with the U.S. District Court in Boston, the U.S. Department of Justice said Teva violated federal law on counterfeit claims from 2006 to 2015 by paying two seemingly independent charities more than $ 300 million to cover Medicare co-payment obligations from Copaxone patients.
The government said that Teva used the base as a conduit to protect patients from a fourfold increase in Copaxone's price, leading to hundreds of millions of dollars in false claims and equivalent income for the Israeli pharmaceutical manufacturer. [1
Teva said it will be vigorously defending itself against the allegations, saying the lawsuit "only aims to further restrict the patient's access to important drugs and health care."
According to the complaint, Teva was to refer Copaxone patients to the specialist pharmacy Advanced Care Scripts Inc., which then arranged to cover payments from the foundations, the chronic disease fund and the relief fund.
The Ministry of Justice said that Teva's behavior circumvents Congress' intention that co-payments help keep drug prices down.
"Unbound by any market control of pricing due to the payment of illegal kickbacks, Teva left U.S. taxpayers to bear the high prices set by Teva for Copaxone, while Teva reaped the resulting profits," the complaint said.
requests triple damages.