Virginia to receive $1.5 million as part of a national settlement regarding pharmaceutical marketing

mark herringAttorney General Mark R. Herring announced today that he, along with the Attorneys General of 47 other states and the District of Columbia have reached a $71 million settlement with Amgen Inc. to resolve allegations that the company unlawfully promoted its medications Aranesp and Enbrel.

As part of the settlement, which is in the form of a consent judgment filed in Richmond City Circuit Court, Virginia will receive approximately $1.5 million to support ongoing consumer protection efforts and Amgen will be barred from deceptively marketing or promoting either drug.

“We can’t tolerate deceptive or untrue marketing of any products in Virginia, especially when we’re talking about prescription drugs and other medical devices that affect Virginians’ health,” said Attorney General Herring. “Under this settlement, Amgen will be barred from off-label marketing of these drugs, so Virginians can have confidence that the drugs they’re being prescribed are the ones they need and the ones that will work.”

Aranesp is used to treat certain types of anemia, while Enbrel is used to treat a number of conditions, including plaque psoriasis. The complaint filed today alleges that Amgen violated state consumer protection laws by promoting Aranesp for longer periods of use than approved by the FDA, and by promoting both Aranesp and Enbrel for different uses than those approved by the FDA. Amgen allegedly lacked the necessary scientific evidence to support its claims.

In addition to payments to the states, the Consent Judgment also requires Amgen to reform its marketing and promotional practices. For example, under the terms of the Consent Judgment, Amgen shall not:

make, or cause to be made, any written or oral claim that is false, misleading, or deceptive in promoting Enbrel or any drug in the same class as Aranesp

represent that Enbrel or any drug in the same class as Aranesp has any sponsorship, approval, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits, quantities, or qualities that it does not have

use a compendium listing or publication to promote Enbrel or any drug in the same class as Aranesp for an Off-Label use to a Health Care Professional

allow Amgen Marketing and Amgen Sales to initiate interactions with a compendium or determine the content of any materials for submissions to a compendium relating to Enbrel or any drug in the same class as Aranesp

submit a Special Supplement to a compendium to support an Off-Label Use of Enbrel or any drug in the same class as Aranesp or use a third party to lobby a compendium on Amgen’s behalf without notifying the compendium that it is acting at Amgen’s request.

The other states participating in the settlement are Alabama, Alaska, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia, Wisconsin, and Wyoming.

The case was handled by Attorney General Herring’s Consumer Protection Section, which helps educate Virginians about fraud and accepts consumer complaints regarding a variety of issues. Virginians may contact the Office to get information on scams or threats, or to file a complaint.

More online at or call 1-800-552-9963 in Virginia or (804) 786-2042 if calling from the Richmond area.

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