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Idaho, Other States, Settle With Big Pharma Over Exjade

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Exjade - WEBMD.COM
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Idaho Attorney Lawrence Wasden announced early Friday the Gem State had joined states across the U.S. in settling a whistleblower lawsuit against pharmaceutical giant Novartis, which had been accused of sending kickbacks to some pharmacies in exchange for recommending a drug to Medicaid and Medicare patients.

Nationwide, Novartis will pay $390 million. Idaho's share of the settlement is $52,342.

Prosecutors said Novartis paid some pharmacies to encourage the sale of Exjade for the treatment of chronic iron overload due to blood transfusions. Prosecutors alleged Novartis paid the kickbacks "to corrupt the interactions with patients by inducing the pharmacies to exaggerate dangers of not taking Exjade, emphasize Exjade's benefits and downplay the severity of Exjade's side effects."

In additional to marketing the drug for chronic iron overload, Novartis also sold Exjade as a treatment for patients with a variety of underlying conditions that affect blood cells or bone marrow, including sickle cell disease, according to the AG's office.