LONDON — Less than a year after paying $390 million to settle criminal cases brought under the False Claims Act, a whistleblower claims the maker of Exjade is doing much the same thing on the other side of the world.
The Swiss drugmaker is investigating claims that the company paid nearly $300,000 to government officials in Turkey through a third-party consultant.
The money allegedly went for favors like including certain medicines in certain formularies in government-run hospitals, which added up to illegal benefits of around $85 million.
According to the anonymous whistleblower, Novartis only stopped paying the consultant once the Turkish government began investigating the matter.
In a related development, the company agreed to pay $25 million to the Securities and Exchange Commission for violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. The government watchdog alleged Novartis bribed a number of Chinese officials. The company has already paid $460 million in fines in that matter.
A company spokesperson insisted that Novartis “take(s) any allegation of inappropriate behavior extremely seriously and investigate all allegations thoroughly.”
Exjade Side Effects, Complications
Multiple reports of serious side effects, which prompted a warning from the Food and Drug Administration in 2015, have led some to speculate that Novartis’ questionable business practices may also exist in the drug development sector.
Deferasirox (Exjade) is a powerful iron chelator that removes excess amounts of that mineral from patients who have received blood transfusions; it is also prescribed for some young anemic children who are not responding well to deferoxamine. Because it significantly alters body chemistry in persons who are already sick, Exjade has been linked to numerous side effects, including:
- Kidney Failure: If the patient has any risk factors for the disease, Exjade may be enough to trigger a fatal reaction.
- Liver Function: Patients who have received high doses or extended Exjade therapy are particularly at risk for liver disease.
- Renal Failure: One study indicated that Exjade patients had three times the risk of renal failure as other patients.
Compensation in a dangerous drug case normally includes both compensatory and punitive damages.
Our Exjade Lawyers Can Help
Our dangerous drug attorneys can help if you or someone you care about was injured during or after ingesting Exjade. Lawsuits have been filed against the drug makers by both patients and their families seeking compensation for injuries caused by the dangerous drug. You may be entitled to a settlement.
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