Dec. 20, 2012 – In a recently announced settlement agreement, international drug manufacturer Sanofi agreed to pay $109 million in response to allegations that it violated the False Claims Act by giving physicians free drugs in violation of the Anti-Kickback Statute, to induce them to prescribe the product.
The drug in question is Hyalgan, a drug injected into the knee to treat arthritis. The free samples were given to physicians as kickbacks to lower the effective price of specific orders of the drugs. This settlement was announced at around the same time as a Dec. 19 article published by the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel and MedPage Today of their analysis of the effect that physician economic ties to drug manufacturers have on the development of practice guidelines.
Their findings indicate that rather than being guided by rigorous science and clinical evidence, the financial relationships between the physicians who participate in the development of the guidelines and their pharma sponsors have corrupted the process.