Daiichi Sankyo Co Ltd, a global pharmaceutical company, is being forced to pay $39 million to the United States government and state Medicaid programs to settle claims that the company paid doctors kickbacks to prescribe its drugs. Reuters reported that the fine was negotiated with the Department of Justice based on a whistleblower case by a former sales representative.
The lawsuit alleged that Daiichi paid doctors kickbacks from 2004 to 2011 to endorse the company’s various pharmaceutical products. Doctors received payments for prescribing Daiichi products and giving speeches. The doctors were often treated to “lavish” dinners hosted by the pharmaceutical company. Daiichi allegedly was paying for the promotion of its blood pressure drugs, Benicar, Azor, and Tribenzor, and its cholesterol-lowering drug, Welchol.
Daiichi’s blood pressure drug, Benicar, known by the generic name olmesartan, has been used by approximately 11 million Americans since the drug was put on the market in 2002. However, Benicar and similar drugs have been found to lead to a serious gastrointestinal condition known as sprue-like enteropathy. The drugs has been found to lead to chronic diarrhea, vomiting and excess weight loss. The symptoms have caused some patients to be hospitalized for a prolonged period of time and some suffer permanent damage.
As part of the whistleblower settlement, Daiichi agreed to pay $39 million to the government and various state Medicaid programs. $6.1 million will go to a former sales representative. The company also agreed to make internal reforms.
The Benicar lawyers at the law firm of Lopez McHugh, LLP are consulting with Benicar users who have developed sprue-like enteropathy to discuss potential legal claims against the manufacturer. If you have suffered these serious side effects from Benicar use, contact our office today for a free consultation.