A specialty pharmacy company of drug wholesaler Amerisource Bergen in Valley Forge has agreed to pay $13.4 million to settle government claims that it violated the False Claims Act by encouraging patients to refill prescriptions of Exjade, which treats high iron levels, in exchange for patient referrals and "hundreds of thousands of dollars" in annual service fees and rebates from the drug maker Novartis.
US Bioservices in Frisco, Tex. will pay $10.6 million to the federal government and $2.8 million to states, according to a filing in federal court in Manhattan Tuesday. Acting U.S. Attorney Joon Kim in the Southern District of New York alleged in a civil suit that federal state insurance programs were illegally billed for Exjade, and that US Bioservices had its nurses call patients to recommend they order prescription refills. The drug has been tied to serious side effects, including kidney and liver failure and gastrointestinal bleeding, court documents said.