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Just two weeks after pleading guilty in a major federal fraud case, Amgen, the world’s largest biotechnology firm, scored a largely unnoticed coup on Capitol Hill: Lawmakers inserted a paragraph into the “fiscal cliff” bill that did not mention the company by name but strongly favored one of its drugs.
-- illegally marketing the drugs Aranesp, Enbrel and Neulasta;
-- illegally offering, paying or causing to be paid kickbacks for the purpose of influencing health care providers’ selection and utilization of Aranesp, Enbrel, Epogen, Neulasta, Neupogen and Sensipar for Medicaid recipients;
-- knowingly reporting inaccurate Average Sales Prices (ASPs) for Aranesp, Epogen, Neulasta and Neupogen;
-- knowingly reporting inaccurate Best Prices and Average Manufacturer Prices for Aranesp, Enbrel, Epogen, Neulasta, Neupogen and Sensipar by failing to include remuneration that was paid to health care providers and that was conditioned on purchase of Amgen products in violation of the Medicaid Rebate Statute, 42 U.S.C. ? 1396r-8.
A National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units team participated in the investigation and conducted the settlement negotiations with Amgen on behalf of the settling states.
The language buried in Section 632 of the law delays a set of Medicare price restraints on a class of drugs that includes Sensipar, a lucrative Amgen pill used by kidney dialysis patients.
The provision gives Amgen an additional two years to sell Sensipar without government controls. The news was so welcome that the company’s chief executive quickly relayed it to investment analysts. But it is projected to cost Medicare up to $500 million over that period.
Supporters of the delay, primarily leaders of the Senate Finance Committee who have long benefited from Amgen’s political largess, said it was necessary to allow regulators to prepare properly for the pricing change.
But critics, including several Congressional aides who were stunned to find the measure in the final bill, pointed out that Amgen had already won a previous two-year delay, and they depicted a second one as an unnecessary giveaway…
Amgen has deep financial and political ties to lawmakers like Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, Republican of Kentucky, and Senators Max Baucus, Democrat of Montana, and Orrin G. Hatch, Republican of Utah, who hold heavy sway over Medicare payment policy as the leaders of the Finance Committee.
Amgen’s employees and political action committee have distributed nearly $5 million in contributions to political candidates and committees since 2007, including $67,750 to Mr. Baucus, the Finance Committee chairman, and $59,000 to Mr. Hatch, the committee’s ranking Republican. They gave an additional $73,000 to Mr. McConnell, some of it at a fund-raising event for him that it helped sponsor in December while the debate over the fiscal legislation was under way. More than $141,000 has also gone from Amgen employees to President Obama’s campaigns.
Amgen, which has a small army of 74 lobbyists in the capital, was the only company to argue aggressively for the delay
Originally posted by CirqueDeTruth
Alright now, we can't have it both ways.
Either big pharma is trying to kill everyone with it's drugs...
Or they are keeping people alive longer which is contributing to problems such as over-population, poverty, and hunger.
Which is it?
Which is it?