California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris this week announced that California and 47 other states and the District of Columbia have reached a $71 million settlement with pharmaceutical company Amgen Inc. to resolve allegations that Amgen unlawfully promoted biologic medications Aranesp and Enbrel.
California will receive $4.6 million from the settlement.
Aranesp is used to treat certain types of anemia by stimulating bone marrow to produce red blood cells. Enbrel is used to treat a number of conditions, including plaque psoriasis.
“Amgen’s false marketing denied consumers the ability to make educated decisions about their healthcare,” said Harris. “This settlement will hold the company accountable for its deceptive marketing and prevent it from using misleading practices in the future.”
In documents filed this week, Attorney General Harris and the other attorneys general allege that Amgen violated state consumer protection laws by: (1) promoting Aranesp for dosing frequencies longer than the FDA approved label without competent and reliable scientific evidence to substantiate the extended dosing frequencies; (2) promoting Aranesp for anemia caused by cancer without having FDA approval or competent and reliable scientific evidence to support it; and (3) promoting Enbrel for mild plaque psoriasis even though Enbrel is only approved by the FDA to treat chronic moderate to severe plaque psoriasis.
The consent judgment requires Amgen to reform its marketing and promotional practices. For example, under the terms of the consent judgment, Amgen may not make false, deceptive, or misleading written or oral claims in promoting Enbrel or any drug in the same class as Aranesp.