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Shareholder Suit Shadows Aegerion in the Wake of Government Probe

Jan. 20, 2014

Aegerion Pharmaceuticals is under threat of a class-action shareholder lawsuit after government prosecutors earlier this month asked the drugmaker to hand over documents tied to sales and marketing of its cholesterol drug Juxtapid.

A demand for a jury trial has been filed in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts by plaintiffs alleging the Cambridge, Mass.-based company misled investors and shareholders about its financial situation in the wake of an FDA warning letter Aegerion received in November. The letter chided the drugmaker for comments made by its CEO, Marc Beer, on live television that the agency said failed to mention drug risks and promoted an off-label use.

Aegerion spokeswoman Amanda Murphy declined to provide detail on what documents were requested by the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston, other than to say they were broadly focused on sales. The drugmaker says it doesn’t believe the latest demand is related to its CEO’s televised comments, she said.

Potentially thousands of plaintiffs, the suit says, are alleging that the Aegerion executives knowingly and willfully misled them as to the drugmaker’s financial state and seek damages.

Aegerion did not respond to requests for comment by press time Friday. — Lena Freund

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