On July 25, 2017, four law firms achieved justice for a former Celgene pharmaceutical sales whistle-blower in the amount of $280 million on the eve of trial. Plaintiff Beverly Brown was represented by Guttman, Buschner & Brooks PLLC, Bienert, Miller & Katzman, Richard A. Harpootlian, P.A. of Columbia, South Carolina, and former federal Judge and Harvard Law Professor, Nancy Gertner, from Boston, Massachusetts in a suit against Celgene under federal False Claims Act and state analogues.
Brown alleged that the defendant sold and promoted two cancer drugs, Thalomid and Revlimid, in violation of federal and state laws. Thalomid was used to treat multiple myeloma and Revlimid is a chemotherapy drug.
Ms. Brown brought her case in 2010 and it remained under seal – and under investigation by the government until 2014 when the government decided not to pursue the case.
Encompassed in U.S. ex rel. Brown v. Celgene, CV 10-03165 (RK) (C.D. Cal.) were allegations that Celgene:
(1) promoted Thalomid and Revlimid for off-label uses that were not approved by the FDA, were – in many cases – unsafe, and were not properly reimbursable by federal insurance programs;
(2) offered illegal kickbacks to a wide range of entities in an effort to influence health care providers to select its products for use, regardless of whether they were reimbursable by federal or state health care programs or were medically necessary.
(3) concealed or downplayed adverse events associated with use of Thalomid and Revlimid; and
(4) improperly influenced the content of published drug compendia entries, medical literature, clinical studies and NCCN guidelines for Thalomid and Revlimid to support uses of these drugs not supported by medical science, including by making payments to physicians who had influence over the content of published drug compendia entries. Because Brown pursued the case on her own, the $280 million resolution marks the second-largest recovery in a non-intervened FCA case, largest recovery against a pharmaceutical company in a non-intervened case where core allegations were based on off-label promotion, and largest recovery involving a manufacturer of cancer drugs.