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Pennsylvania Pharmaceutical Company Agrees to Pay $56.5 Million to Settle Allegations It Engaged in Deceptive Marketing Practices

Pennsylvania-based pharmaceutical company, Shire Pharmaceuticals LLC, recently agreed to pay $56.5 million to resolve civil allegations that it violated the False Claims Act (FCA). Shire allegedly made false and misleading statements when marketing several drugs, including Adderall XR, the well-known drug used to treat attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD) in children and adults.

The allegations, were filed by whistleblowers Dr. Gerardo Torres, a former Shire executive, and Shire sales representatives Anita Hsieh, Kara Harris, and Ian Clark in separate suits.

The “qui tam” or whistleblower provision of the FCA allows individuals who have knowledge of fraud against the government to file suit as a “relator.” Shire’s employees produced evidence that from January 2004 to December 2007, Shire promoted Adderall XR based on unsupported claims that the drug would prevent poor academic performance, loss of employment, criminal behavior, traffic accidents, and sexually transmitted disease; and overstated the efficacy of Adderall, particularly relative to other ADHD drugs.

Under the settlement, the federal government will receive $35,713,965, and state Medicaid programs will receive $20,786,034. The settlement also ensures that Shire will cease deceptive marketing practices that influence a doctor’s independent judgment and undermine the doctor-patient relationship.

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