The U.S. Attorney for the District of Massachusetts announced earlier today that the Schering Sales Corp., a subsidiary of the Schering-Plough Co., a major drug manufacturer, has agreed to plead guilty to a criminal conspiracy charge and pay a $180,000 criminal fine. Schering-Plough has agreed to settle False Claims Act charges by paying $159,502,000, plus interest, to the United States in civil damages for losses suffered by the Medicare program, the federal portion of the Medicaid program, the Veteran’s Administration, the Department of Defense and the Federal Employees Health Benefits program as a result of Scherings’s improper drug promotion and marketing misconduct. Schering-Plough’s payments to the Government total $435,000,000. These appear to be the Government’s False Claim Act claims that related to the FEHBP as described in the government’s press release:
- Schering induced physicians to start patients on Intron A for Hepatitis C by paying them remuneration through three marketing programs.
- Schering induced physicians to use Temodar for certain patients with brain tumors and brain metastases and to use Intron A for certain patients with superficial bladder cancer through improper preceptorships, sham advisory boards, lavish entertainment, and improper placement of clinical trials; and
- Schering knowingly promoted off label uses of Temodar for certain brain tumors and brain metastases and Intron A for superficial bladder cancer despite not having FDA approval.
Schering Plough subsidiary Schering Sales Corp. also was debarred from participating in federal health care programs.