Indiana among 15 states accusing Amgen of illegal kickbacks

Biotechnology behemoth Amgen Inc. is being sued by 15 states, including Indiana, alleging the company gave kickbacks to
medical providers to help boost sales of the anemia drug Aranesp.

The New York Attorney General’s office says it
and 15 states allege the Thousand Oaks, Calif., company encouraged medical providers to bill third parties, including Medicaid,
for Aranesp, which was available to them at no cost. The lawsuit also alleges that Amgen conspired to offer kickbacks, including
nonexistent consultancy deals and weekend retreats, to boost prescriptions of Aranesp.

Sales of the drug have been
slipping for more than a year because of increased safety concerns and stricter safety warnings. Aranesp sales totaled about 
$4.1 billion in 2006. They are expected to be about $3 billion this year.

"We believe that the allegations
are without merit, and we look forward to the opportunity to examine these matters with the states before the Court,"
Amgen said, in a statement.

The company said it is now limited in its remarks because of the litigation, but it
has a "solid" compliance program.

"Drugs should be prescribed to patients on the basis of need,
effectiveness, and safety, not on a corporate giant’s promise of an all-expense paid vacation," Cuomo said.

The lawsuit says Amgen’s alleged actions caused thousands of ineligible claims for Aranesp to be paid and millions of dollars
in damages to state Medicaid programs.

States involved in the lawsuit include California, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii,
Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Tennessee, and Virginia, along with
the District of Columbia.

The case is being led by Special Assistant Attorney General Margot Schoenborn of the
New York Attorney General’s Medicaid Fraud Control Unit.

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