Celgene to pay $280 million to settle Thalomid off-label marketing litigation

Celgene announced that it agreed to pay $280 million to settle civil litigation in the US primarily related to allegations that the company promoted Thalomid (thalidomide) for off-label uses before its 2006 FDA approval for newly diagnosed multiple myeloma. Under the settlement, Celgene will pay the money to the US, 28 States, the District of Columbia and the City of Chicago.

According to Celgene, the settlement includes the resolution of all allegations made with respect to Thalomid and Revlimid (lenalidomide). The company noted that before the deal was reached, the District Court for the Central District of California dismissed a significant part of the case on a motion for summary judgment, including allegations that Celgene illegally paid doctors to induce them to promote and prescribe Thalomid and Revlimid.

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The lawsuit was filed in 2010 by a former Celgene saleswoman who said the company submitted false claims to Medicare and healthcare programmes in 28 states and Washington, DC. According to the allegations, the drugmaker marketed Thalomid and Revlimid to treat multiple types of cancer for which the drugs weren't approved by the FDA.

Celgene said that it has denied any wrongdoing in this matter, adding that its relationships with physicians have been "appropriate." The drugmaker explained that it is settling to "avoid the uncertainty, distraction and expense of protracted litigation."

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