Sanofi Forced To Pay $11.8 Million In Alleged Kick-Back Scheme

Lemtrada Stroke Lawsuit News

Reimbursing patient's out of pocket co-pays through bogus charities is the latest marketing scheme of the drugmaker

Monday, March 16, 2020 - Multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical companies sometimes think that they are above the law and that the drug they have discovered, produced, and marketed should be taken by every available patient. That seems to have been the case when Sanofi, the maker of anti-RRMS symptom drug Lemtrada the other day settled a whistleblower lawsuit against them for $11.8 million that alleged the company defrauded US taxpayers through the Medicaid system by kicking back dollars to patients that agreed to take the drug. Lemtrada patients that have suffered a stroke should consult a Lemtrada stroke attorney to see if they qualify to file a claim against Lemtrada's manufacturer for reimbursement of medical expenses, lost wages, pain and suffering, and all other related expenses.

This crime is more heinous than most given the extreme life-threatening side effects Lemtrada carries. Lemtrada is an extremely effective but highly toxic medication that is to be experimented with only by patients in the most extreme cases of relapse remitting multiple sclerosis (RRMS). There are protocols in place that force both doctor and patient to fill out and sign an agreement ensuring both parties are aware of the serious side effects of taking the drug such as a stroke or immediate heart attack than may cause sudden death. Modern Health writes that "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." Sanofi engaged in a scheme to reimburse Lemtrada patients their insurance co-pays, the patients out of pocket costs left uncovered by Medicaid and did so through a bogus charity the company set up generically labeled The Assistance Fund. The Fund would kick back up to $20,000 per patient or about one-fifth of the total annual cost of the drug. Lemtrada is to be taken in 3 infusion sessions over two weeks for two years, with an option for a third year if necessary. To receive the copay reimbursement, patients had to chose to take Lemtrada over other potentially less harmful drugs.

Joseph Bonavolonta, special agent in charge of the FBI Boston Division told Modern Healthcare "They rigged the system so those taking its drug Lemtrada gained an unfair advantage over patients using other medications, and with today's settlement, they are finally being held accountable for their actions," he said in prepared remarks."

In 2018, The US Food and Drug Administration issued a stroke and arterial dissection warning requiring Sanofi to place a Black Box warning label alerting patients of the potential dangers of taking the drug.

Arterial dissection is tearing in the linings of the arteries leading to the head and neck which can result in a lack of blood flowing to the brain. In other words, a stroke. Patients suffering a stroke can be left permanently paralyzed or suffer brain damage. The European Medical Agency has since placed restrictions on Europe's use of Lemtrada and the drug can only be administered when emergency medical staff and equipment are readily available.

Sanofi, the maker of Lemtrada, has been less than forthcoming over the years in warning RRMS patients of the seriousness of the risks of taking their most expensive and profitable drug. If you or a loved one have suffered a stroke or heart attack shortly after taking Lemtrada you may be eligible for compensation and wish to file a claim against Sanofi.

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OnderLaw, LLC is a St. Louis personal injury law firm handling serious injury and death claims across the country. Its mission is the pursuit of justice, no matter how complex the case or strenuous the effort. The Onder Law Firm has represented clients throughout the United States in pharmaceutical and medical device litigation such as Pradaxa, Lexapro and Yasmin/Yaz, where the firm's attorneys held significant leadership roles in the litigation, as well as Actos, DePuy, Risperdal and others. The Onder Law Firm has won more than $300 million in four talcum powder ovarian cancer lawsuits in St. Louis. Law firms throughout the nation often seek its experience and expertise on complex litigation.