New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo and 14 other states are filing a lawsuit against Amgen, alleging that the biotech company was offering kickbacks to medical providers to increase the sales of its anemia drug Aranesp.
According to the complaint, Amgen, along with International Nephrology Network and ASD Healthcare, encouraged medical providers to bill third-party payers, such as Medicaid, to receive Aranesp for free.
Amgen was further accused of conspiring with the companies to offer medical providers weekend retreats and other services to persuade them to buy and prescribe the drug.
"Drugs should be prescribed to patients on the basis of need, effectiveness and safety, not on a corporate giant's promise of an all-expense paid vacation," Cuomo said in a press release.
The complaint said the companies allegedly caused thousands of ineligible claims for the drug to be paid and millions of dollars in damages to state Medicaid programs.
The other states involved in the complaint include California, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Louisiana, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New York, Tennessee and Virginia.
Aranesp is an anemia drug that is designed to boost the production of red blood cells in the body. It was approved by the FDA in 2001. Amgen's total revenue since the drug has been on the market totals more than $11 billion.
Amgen shares were down in afternoon trading.