Investigators Might Examine Pricing Practices of Pharmacies That Sold AIDS-Related Drug Serostim, Court Papers Suggest
October 19, 2005
Pharmacies that sold Swiss biotechnology company Serono's drug Serostim, which is used to treat AIDS-related wasting, might face federal inquiries, court papers suggest, the Boston Globe reports (Kerber, Boston Globe, 10/19). Serono on Monday agreed to pay $704 million to settle a Department of Justice investigation into the company's sales and pricing practices of the drug (Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report, 10/18). Three suits filed by former Serono workers alleging wrongdoing were unsealed on Monday as a result of the settlement. According to the documents, private lawsuits have been filed against Serono that question some pharmacies' sales practices. According to one of the suits, Serono provided the drug to some unnamed parties, "apparently pharmacies," at discounts of up to roughly 4%, the Globe reports. The pharmacies allegedly then sold the drug at its regular price, and Serono allowed the pharmacies to keep the difference, a practice that could be a breach of federal drug pricing rules. The documents do not name the pharmacies involved. Assistant U.S. Attorney Mary Beth Carmody said "the allegations against Serono are resolved by the global settlement," and DOJ said its investigation into the marketing practices for Serostim is continuing. A Serono spokesperson referred to a statement released Monday by the company's general counsel that said the settlement concludes the investigation, the Globe reports (Boston Globe, 10/19).
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This article was provided by Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation. It is a part of the publication Kaiser Daily HIV/AIDS Report. Visit the Kaiser Family Foundation's website to find out more about their activities, publications and services.