One lawsuit against Novartis alleges that the pharmaceutical company paid kickbacks to doctors to induce them to prescribe Novartis products over those from other companies. Those Novartis products were then reimbursed by federal health care programs. As a result, the federal government is alleged to have paid false claims for reimbursement for Novartis products.
In another lawsuit, Novartis is accused of corrupting the prescription drug dispensing process with incentive programs for doctors. It is alleged that doctors would steer patients to Novartis drugs in exchange for illegal kickbacks. Novartis reaped dramatic profits from the programs. Federal health care programs such as Medicare and Medicaid were left to pay the bill.
Federal officials allege that Novartis systematically violated the anti-kickback law, which prohibits payment to doctors to induce referrals of products. Novartis is also accused of violating its own internal policies concerning speaker programs, which require that such programs have an educational purpose and that slides about the company’s drugs be presented. Federal officials also accuse Novartis of violating the anti-kickback law by paying doctors to speak about certain drugs at events that were often nothing more than social occasions for the doctors.
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