Amgen (AMGN) to Pay $762 Million, Pleads Guilty in Marketing Case
12/18/2012 10:59:10 AM
Amgen Inc pleaded guilty in a New York federal court on Tuesday for improper marketing practices involving its once top-selling Aranesp anemia drug and agreed to pay $762 million in a civil settlement and criminal fines. The world's largest biotechnology company had previously set aside funds it expected to have to pay as a result of federal and state investigations, as well as nearly a dozen civil whistleblower lawsuits. Federal prosecutors said in court that the company had agreed to pay $612 million in a civil settlement, a $14 million forfeiture payment, and a $136 million criminal fine. Amgen entered the guilty plea to one misdemeanor count. Acting U.S. attorney Marshall Miller confirmed that under the agreement Amgen will not lose any federal business or contracts. Exclusion from federal programs, such as Medicare, could have crippled its business. Aranesp, which is primarily used to treat anemia in cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy, remains one of Amgen's largest drugs with sales of $2.3 billion in 2011. Its sales, and that of a related older red blood cell booster Epogen, have declined significantly over the past few years amid safety concerns, stricter usage guidelines and reimbursement restrictions.