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Authorities in US sue Novartis in kickback scheme

Feds, New York AG sue pharmaceutical firm Novartis, accusing it of new Rx drug kickback scheme

Authorities in US sue Novartis in kickback scheme

NEW YORK (AP) -- Prosecutors in New York say Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. improperly gave referrals and rebates to a pharmacy in exchange for recommending refills of a drug for blood transfusion patients.

Prosecutors amended an already-filed civil complaint alleging a separate kickback scheme against the East Hanover, New Jersey-based company in federal court Wednesday.

New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman says the Elmsford, New York-based pharmacy, BioScrip, illegally submitted claims to Medicare and Medicaid over the drug Exjade, for which it received kickbacks. He says BioScrip paid $15 million to resolve the charges.

Exjade is prescribed to people with chronic iron overload from blood transfusions. It has potentially fatal side effects.

In a statement, Novartis disputed the allegations and said patient safety was its highest priority.

A BioScrip spokesman didn't return a message seeking comment.