Teva Settles Physician Bribery Suit for $54 Million
Teva agreed to pay $54 million to settle whistleblower allegations that it bribed doctors to prescribe two of its medications.
Two former Teva sales representatives, Charles Arnstein and Hossam Senousy, filed the whistleblower suit in a New York federal court in 2013 claiming that the company used fake “speaker programs” to pay physicians to prescribe its multiple sclerosis drug Copaxone (glatiramer acetate) and its Parkinson’s drug Azilect (rasagiline).
The complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York alleged that physicians who participated in the programs wrote prescriptions for the drugs, causing pharmacies to submit improper claims for reimbursement, as they stemmed from bribery — in violation of the False Claims Act and the Anti-Kickback Statute.
Teva’s best-selling drug, Copaxone earned $2.4 billion in 2018 but it has been on a downward trend for several years under pressure from other MS drugs including Gilenya, Aubagio and Tecfidera and generic competitors. Revenue for the third quarter of 2019 dropped by almost half to $271 million from the same period last year.