Major Drug Company Pays $44 Million to Settle Kickback Claims

EMD Serono
EMD Serono

Swiss biotech giant EMD Serono Inc. agreed to pay $44.3 million last month to settle federal charges of kickbacks that resulted in the submission of false claims to Medicaid and Medicare for its multiple sclerosis drug Rebif.

Serono was accused by the U.S. federal government and a number of states of violating the False Claims Act, a federal law aimed at companies that defraud governmental programs. Serono, government attorneys said, essentially paid doctors to prescribe Rebif to patients suffering from multiple sclerosis.

"Health care decisions must be based solely upon what is best for the individual patient and not on which pharmaceutical company is paying the doctor the biggest kickback," Rod J. Rosenstein, U.S. attorney for the District of Maryland, said in a statement.