Manufacturer of Benicar Pays $39 Million to Settle Kickback Allegations

Global pharmaceutical company Daiichi Sankyo, Inc., agreed in January 2015 to pay a whopping $39 million to state Medicaid programs and the United States. Headquartered in New Jersey, Daiichi Sankyo’s payment will resolve allegations that the company violated the U.S. False Claims Act. Daiichi is accused of paying kickbacks to physicians to persuade them to prescribe their drugs, including Benicar, Azor, Tribenzor and Welchol. U.S. laws prohibit any payment to a physician which seeks to influence a doctor’s prescribing decisions. The Department of Justice, believing those decisions should be objective and independent, works hard to ensure the medical judgment of a physician is never compromised by improper gifts or payments.

Anti-Kickback Statute Violated

The Anti-Kickback Statute prohibits representatives of companies—or anyone, for that matter—from offering or paying money to induce doctors to prescribe drugs covered by federal health care programs such as Medicare and Medicaid. The Wall Street Journal reported speaking fees were paid to physicians even when they “spoke” only to their own spouse or office staff about the benefits of one or more of the company’s drugs. Daiichi also agreed to enter into a corporate integrity agreement with the United States Department of Health and Human Services.

How Benicar Works

Between 2002 and 2008, Daiichi Sankyo spent nearly $1 billion to promote Benicar, claiming the drug was superior to all other drugs in its class for safety and effectiveness. Benicar is used to treat high blood pressure, gaining FDA approval in 2002. Over the past few years, more than eleven million prescriptions per year have been written for Benicar which works by keeping blood vessels open. Benicar contains the ingredient Olmesartan, an angiotensin II receptor blocker. Angiotensin II naturally increases blood pressure by narrowing the blood vessels, and Olmesartan inhibits that action.

Dangers Associated With Benicar

Benicar has been found to cause severe intestinal issues, including a disease known as sprue-like enteropathy which causes severe, chronic diarrhea and substantial weight loss. With this disorder, the lining of the intestines can lose its natural texture, making it extremely difficult for the body to absorb nutrients. Malnutrition and other digestive issues can result. Daiichi and the FDA did not issue a warning to doctors until July 2013 regarding these potential digestive risks.

Benicar Lawsuits

Many people injured by Benicar filed lawsuits soon after the FDA warning was released and patients became aware of where the problems came from.

To date, nearly 1000 lawsuits have been filed in New Jersey State and Federal Courts claiming consumers of the various Benicar drugs have suffered severe gastrointestinal problems.

Additional Benicar Side Effects

In addition to the gastrointestinal disorders caused by Benicar, other side effects include an irregular heartbeat, skin rashes, abdominal and chest pain, chronic vomiting, renal and liver disorders, arthritis symptoms and rapid swelling of the skin. Benicar currently contains a black box warning for fetal toxicity, meaning pregnant women should never take the drug. Although the FDA required Daiichi to add warnings regarding gastrointestinal disorders, the drug has not been recalled. If you have suffered injury due to taking Benicar, it could be beneficial to contact an experienced Philadelphia class action attorney to weigh the facts of your case and lay out your options.

Contact Our National Benicar Lawsuit Attorneys

If you have been diagnosed with sprue-like enteropathy or GI complications after using Benicar, your injuries may be the result of a drug manufacturer's negligence. To learn more about your legal options or to schedule a free consultation call the Philadelphia class action lawyers at Golomb Legal today at 1-800-355-3300 or 1-215-985-9177 or fill out our confidential Contact Form.

The national dangerous drug lawyers at Golomb Legal have successfully represented individuals in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and throughout the United States.