Bristol-Myers Squibb subject of whistleblower lawsuit over physician kickbacks

California joined a previously sealed whistleblower lawsuit that alleges Bristol-Myers Squibb gave doctors speaking fees and other gifts to prescribe its drugs. The suit, which was filed by three former employees of the drugmaker, further claims that the company tracked prescription rates and that physicians classified as high prescribers were rewarded, while those with lower figures were threatened with the loss of perks.

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones alleges that at least 15 000 kickbacks were made between 1999 and 2005 and suggested that the practice may still be taking place. Moreover, he noted that insurance companies in the state spent more than $3.5 billion to cover the costs of the drugs Bristol-Myers Squibb sought to promote through the alleged kickback scheme.

Commenting on the lawsuit, Bristol-Myers Squibb said it "believes this lawsuit has no merit and the company will defend itself vigorously."

To read more Top Story articles, click here.