Celgene gave millions to charities helping patients pay for its cancer drugs to make billions says fed whistleblower suit

Celgene Corporation is said to have donated hundreds of millions to charities funding patients who cannot afford massively priced drugs for particular cancers, according to allegations made in a federal court lawsuit. The purpose, the suit says, was to ensure that Celgene’s medicines would be paid for and to allow it co collect billions in reimbursements from Medicare and other government healthcare plans.

The lawsuit was started by whistleblower Beverly Brown who is a former Celgene sales representative. Celgene manufactures the cancer medicine Revlimid, which is used to treat multiple yeloma and other blood cancers. It is considered one of the most expensive cancer drugs at an average price of $644 per pull. Medicare patients pay about $10,000 out of pocket each year. Celgene reported $9.3 billion in revenue. Celgene contributed between $50-$100 million to charities to help people afford the out of pocket expenses, according to the suit. The lawsuit filed in the Central District of California has yielded significant litigation and thousands of documents have been obtained from the company. However, most of the documents were Ordered to remain under seal by the judge on the case.

Pharmaceutical companies are banned from giving direct co-pay help to any of the 40 million Americans on Medicare with prescription drug coverage. They can make contributions to charities helping these patients providing the charities are independent and there is no coordination with the drug companies.

Jeffrey Newman represents whistleblowers but none in this case.