August 18, 2015 / 5:20 PM / 4 years ago

UPDATE 1-Amgen pays $71 mln to settle Enbrel, Aranesp marketing case

(Adds details of settlement, comments, byline)

By Jonathan Stempel

Aug 18 (Reuters) - Amgen Inc has reached a $71 million settlement with 48 U.S. states and the District of Columbia to resolve claims that the biotechnology company promoted its popular Enbrel and Aranesp drugs for uses not approved by the federal Food and Drug Administration.

The settlement was announced by several state attorneys general on Tuesday.

Enbrel is used to treat moderate to severe plaque psoriasis, while Aranesp is used to treat certain forms of anemia.

Authorities said Amgen violated state consumer protection laws by marketing both drugs for off-label uses, through its promotion of Enbrel to treat mild plaque psoriasis and Aranesp to treat anemia caused by cancer.

The states also said Amgen marketed Aranesp for longer dosing frequencies than the FDA had approved.

“Consumers need to have confidence in the accuracy of claims made by pharmaceutical companies,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.

The $71 million will be distributed among the states. Amgen also agreed to change its marketing practices.

Enbrel was Amgen’s top-selling drug in 2014, with $4.69 billion of sales. Aranesp sales totaled $1.93 billion. The Thousand Oaks, California-based company reported overall revenue of $20.06 billion.

Tuesday’s settlement came after Amgen agreed in December 2012 to pay $762 million to settle criminal and civil litigation over its marketing of Aranesp, Enbrel and other drugs. It also pleaded guilty to illegally introducing a misbranded drug, Aranesp, into interstate commerce.

In a statement on Tuesday, Amgen said it was pleased to resolve the states’ claims. It also said company management was “dedicated to fostering a culture of doing the right thing at Amgen in full compliance with the law.”

Amgen shares were down $1.85, or 1.1 percent, at $167.94 in afternoon trading on the Nasdaq. (Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by W Simon and Frances Kerry)

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