Accused Again of Improper Kickbacks | Novartis

As reported by the Wall Street Journal and Fierce Pharma, a former Novartis Pharmaceuticals executive, Min Amy Guo, is suing the drug company, reporting that she was fired after suggesting that the way Novartis proposed awarding a contract to McKesson for a study of cancer drug Afinitor, “presented a conflict of interest and an appearance of kickbacks under the disguise of research.”

Min Amy Guo had been executive director of the Health Economics and Outcomes Research Group.  She indicates that two years ago she objected to a proposed study that would look at uses of the Affinitor breast cancer treatment that were not approved by the FDA. This is referred to as “off-label use.”  She said the project was proposed in 2012 and was going to take a month to complete, but was “too costly.”  Therefore, instead of the study going through Guo’s research group, it was going to be overseen by the Oncology Scientific Operations-Managed Markets group, which the lawsuit said is “focused on client interaction,” not on research.

This is not the first time such allegations have been made against the drug company.  Only four years ago, Novartis paid $422.5 million in fines and civil penalties to settle allegations that it offered kickbacks to doctors to increase prescriptions of its blood pressure drugs Diovan, Exforge and Tekturna.

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