PharMerica settles kickback claims for $2.5 million

Long-term care pharmacy giant PharMerica has paid $2.5 million to settle allegations that it illegally promoted anemia drug Aranesp.

PharMerica's late December agreement is the final settlement in a 2011 whistleblower lawsuit that claimed the company received payments from Aranesp manufacturer Amgen to promote push physicians to prescribe the drug to nursing home residents.  

Institutional long-term care pharmacy services competitor Omnicare was also named in the lawsuit, and settled its allegations for $4 million in 2014. Amgen settled for nearly $25 million in 2013, bringing the total amount recovered in the case to more than $31.5 million.

“Public health insurance programs shouldn't foot the bill for drug company schemes that manipulate doctors and patients to maximize profits,” wrote South Carolina US Attorney Bill Nettles in a press release on the settlement. “This case is an excellent example of how the government can work together with private whistleblowers to recover money for taxpayers.”

In October, PharMerica agreed to pay $9.25 million to settle allegations that it solicited and received kickbacks to promote seizure and mood disorder drug Depakote.