On January 9, 2015, the US Department of Justice announced that Daiichi Sankyo Inc., agreed to pay $39 million to resolve allegations the company violated the False Claims Act. The Department of Justice had alleged Daiichi Sankyo illegally paid kickbacks as a way of enticing doctors to prescribe Benicar, Azor, Tribenzor and Welchol.
“In this case, the government alleged that Daiichi paid physicians improper kickbacks in the form of speaker fees as part of Daiichi’s Physician Organization and Discussion program, known as ‘PODs,’ which were run from Jan. 1, 2005, through March 31, 2011, as well as other speaker programs that were run from Jan. 1, 2004, through Feb. 4, 2011,” the Department of Justice noted.
Various states will share in the $39 million settlement, while the whistleblower who first alerted the Department of Justice to Daiichi Sankyo’s activities will receive $6.1 million.
READ MORE BENICAR LEGAL NEWS
The lawsuits claim Benicar was unreasonably dangerous, resulting in the development of sprue-like enteropathy, a condition marked by severe diarrhea and weight loss. According to one lawsuit (Dirksen v. Daiichi Sankyo), Benicar was only tested for a three-month period, even though it is frequently prescribed for at least double that time.
Benicar, known generically as olmesartan, is prescribed to treat high blood pressure. Some plaintiffs allege the side effects they suffered were serious enough to require hospitalization and, in some cases, treatment for renal failure.
The government’s lawsuit was U.S. ex rel. Fragoules v. Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., Civil Action NO. 10-10420 (D. Mass.).