Don’t Let a Pandemic Give You a Blind Eye to Big Pharma Crimes

This issue is about a month old but it is so egregious that it makes me cringe. We cannot CV19 be a smokescreen for other bad crap going on. Take this for example:

Sanofi agreed to pay nearly $12 million to settle allegations that the drugmaker funneled kickbacks through a charity to boost sales of its expensive multiple sclerosis drug. 

WTF? This crap is still going on. And only $12 million. That is nothing for these companies who cannot play by the rules. Are you kidding me? They made more money by going the illegal route.

It is the latest scheme involving drug manufacturers that allegedly paid patient co-pays for their own drugs through purportedly independent charities. Seven drugmakers paid more than $624 million in related settlements last year, the Justice Department said. 

A charity called The Assistance Fund helps pay for out-of-pocket costs for certain individuals, including Medicare patients who were prescribed Lemtrada, a drug made by Sanofi that can cost up to $100,000 a year. The Assistance Fund allegedly raised its maximum per-patient grant allocation to $20,000 specifically to accommodate Lemtrada patients.

Sanofi allegedly worked with a third-party reimbursement hub to orchestrate nine payments to the fund in 2015 and 2016 to predominantly cover the co-pays of Medicare patients who were taking Lemtrada. The drugmaker would allegedly schedule these payments when The Assistance Fund ran out of multiple sclerosis funding, and then referred as many Lemtrada patients as it could immediately after funds were replenished. This means MS patients who were not taking Lemtrada largely missed out, regulators said.

I continue to be amazed how low some of these companies can go. And who okayed this at Sanofi? I mean why isn’t this person fired? How do they sleep at night?

As part of the settlement, Sanofi agreed to a corporate integrity agreement with the HHS’ Office of Inspector General. Sanofi must prove that its associations with third-party patient assistance programs are legal, comply with reviews, and require compliance-related certifications from executives and board members. 

To summarize, Sanofi used a bogus charity to get more sales. It reminds me of the HUMAN FUND on Seinfeld. But it’s worse. Much, much worse.

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Douglas Farrago MD

Douglas Farrago MD is a full-time practicing family doc in Forest, Va. He started Forest Direct Primary Care where he takes no insurance and bills patients a monthly fee. He is board certified in the specialty of Family Practice. He is the inventor of a product called the Knee Saver which is currently in the Baseball Hall of Fame. The Knee Saver and its knock-offs are worn by many major league baseball catchers. He is also the inventor of the CryoHelmet used by athletes for head injuries as well as migraine sufferers. Dr. Farrago is the author of four books, two of which are the top two most popular DPC books. From 2001 – 2011, Dr. Farrago was the editor and creator of the Placebo Journal which ran for 10 full years. Described as the Mad Magazine for doctors, he and the Placebo Journal were featured in the Washington Post, US News and World Report, the AP, and the NY Times. Dr. Farrago is also the editor of the blog Authentic Medicine which was born out of concern about where the direction of healthcare is heading and the belief that the wrong people are in charge. This blog has been going daily for more than 15 years Article about Dr. Farrago in Doximity Email Dr. Farrago –