Pharmaceutical company Biogen Inc. has agreed to pay $900 million to settle allegations that it paid kickbacks to doctors to recommend its multiple sclerosis drugs, causing false submission claims to Medicare and Medicaid.
No liability has been determined in the case, which was initially filed by former Biogen employee and whistleblower Michael Bawduniak in the District of Massachusetts. The settlement was reached Monday.
Mr. Bawduniak alleged that, from January 2009 to March 2014, Biogen paid health care professionals in speaker’s honors, speaker’s training fees, consulting fees and meals.
In exchange, the professionals were to prescribe the multiple sclerosis drugs Avonex, Tysabri and Tecfidera. The allegations would be a violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute.
Mr. Bawduniak “diligently pursued this matter on behalf of the United States for over seven years. The settlement … underscores the critical role that whistleblowers play in complementing the United States’ use of the False Claims Act to combat fraud affecting federal health care programs,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Brian M. Boynton, head of the Justice Department’s Civil Division.
Under the whistleblower provisions of the federal False Claims Act, Mr. Bawduniak will receive part of the proceeds from the Biogen settlement.
“Under the terms of the settlement, Biogen will pay $843,805,187 to the United States and $56,194,813 to 15 states. Bawduniak will receive approximately 29.6% of the federal proceeds from the settlement,” or roughly $26.6 million, according to the Justice Department.
Biogen denies all allegations made in the lawsuit.
“Biogen believes its intent and conduct was at all times lawful and appropriate and Biogen denies all allegations raised in this case,” the company said in a statement. “The U.S. and the states did not intervene in the case and the settlement does not include any admission of liability by Biogen.”