Authorities in NY sue Novartis in kickback scheme

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Associated Press

Posted on January 8, 2014 at 10:02 PM

Updated Thursday, Jan 9 at 9:01 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — Prosecutors in New York say Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. improperly gave referrals and rebates to a pharmacy in exchange for recommending refills of a drug for blood transfusion patients.

Prosecutors amended an already-filed civil complaint alleging a separate kickback scheme against the East Hanover, N.J.-based company in Manhattan federal court Wednesday.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says the Elmsford, N.Y.-based pharmacy, BioScrip, illegally submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid over the drug Exjade, for which it received kickbacks. He says BioScrip paid $15 million to resolve the charges.

Exjade is prescribed to people with chronic iron overload from blood transfusions. It has potentially fatal side effects.

In a statement, Novartis disputed the allegations and said patient safety was its highest priority.

A BioScrip spokesman didn't return a message seeking comment.

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