REUTERS: AbbVie Inc has agreed to pay US$24 million to settle a lawsuit that alleged insurance fraud by the drugmaker in promoting its blockbuster drug Humira, California's insurance regulator said on Thursday.
AbbVie denied the allegations, but agreed to look into how Humira is marketed to health care providers in the state, the regulator said
The Insurance Commissioner of California said the company also agreed to disclose that AbbVie, and not a medical provider, paid the registered nurses who are employed as so-called AbbVie Ambassadors to interact with patients about Humira.
Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said AbbVie has paid US$24 million to California and the whistleblower, a registered nurse who brought the case to the department's attention in October 2016.
AbbVie did not immediately respond to Reuters request for comment.
Humira, the company's flagship arthritis treatment, brought in sales of US$3.97 billion in the latest quarter. It has been the major driver of AbbVie's growth in the recent years but faces expirations of its patents in U.S. in 2023.
Among other things, the department alleged AbbVie violated California's Insurance Frauds Prevention Act by unlawfully providing free and valuable professional goods and services to physicians to induce and reward Humira prescriptions.
(Reporting by Vishwadha Chander in Bengaluru; Editing by Shailesh Kuber)