Biogen (NSDQ:BIIB) has agreed to pay $22 million to settle a lawsuit charging the company with paying insurance copays for thousands of patients through two nonprofit intermediaries: Chronic Disease Fund and The Assistance Fund.
Federal prosecutors had accused the company of organizing the scheme to coax multiple sclerosis patients to use the drugs Avonex and Tysabri to defraud Medicare.
The annual cost of the drugs can cost tens of thousands of dollars per patient.
Prosecutors also accused specialty pharmacy Advanced Care Scripts of collaborating in the scheme. That company agreed to pay a $1.4 million settlement.
The settlement is pending in the U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts.
Federal law prohibits pharma companies from providing financial incentives to induce Medicare patients to use specific medications.
Biogen denied wrongdoing in the matter.
“Biogen continues to believe that independent charitable assistance programs help patients lead healthier lives,” the company said in prepared remarks. “Donations to these organizations provide significant assistance to patients with their copayments for prescriptions.”
The law firm Guttman, Buschner & Brooks filed the suit in 2017.