Three drug makers use nurses in scheme to promote diabetes meds to docs say lawsuits

According to the publication STAT, a Boston Globe publication, three more drug makers have allegedly relied on fraudulent schemes where which nurses were used to illegally promote its diabetes medicines to physicians. The information comes from three unsealed lawsuits filed by whistleblowers under the False Claims Act.  The lawsuits allege that Gilead Sciences, Amgen, and Bayer Pharmaceuticals hired nurses to promote treatments to doctors and their patients, an arrangement that purportedly violated federal kickback laws.

In each lawsuit, the drug makers allegedly used various means to improperly use nurses to promote their medicines. One allegedly involved using a third party to deploy nurse educators to sell drugs. The companies also provided free nurses and reimbursement support services to save physicians money and to induce them to prescribe their medicines, according to the lawsuits. This service for value is considered a kickback under law. As a result, Medicare and Medicaid were fraudulently billed for  prescriptions say the lawsuits. The lawsuits also named other companies that were engaged to further their goals, including Covance, HealthStar Communications, and AmerisourceBergen.

A similar suit was against Eli Lilly . All three of the lawsuits, which were filed last June in a federal court in Texas and unsealed more recently, were initiated by Health Choice Advocates, a unit of a health care research that describes itself as a whistleblower.