Dec 19, 2016 | Tim Casey
Forest Laboratories and Forest Pharmaceuticals agreed to pay $38 million to the federal government and several states to settle allegations regarding sales and marketing practices involving three medications.
The government investigated Forest for violating the Anti-Kickback Statute from 2008 through 2011 for the following three drugs: Bystolic (nebivolol) to treat high blood pressure, Savella (milnacipran) to treat fibromyalgia and Namenda (memantine) to treat dementia associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Nebivolol is an oral medication that the FDA approved in 2007 to lower blood pressure in patients with hypertension.
During that time period, Forest allegedly provided payments and meals to physicians for speaking programs even when the programs were cancelled, when no licensed healthcare professionals attended the programs, when the same attendees attended multiple programs during a short time period and when meals exceeded the company’s cost limitations.
“Quality and patient safety must be the driving factors in the medical decision making process,” Lamont Pugh III, the special agent in charge, said in a news release. “Attempting to sway physicians to deviate from those core values with illegal inducements, as alleged in this lawsuit, debilitates their unbiased medical judgment at the expense of patients and taxpayers.”