Genentech, OSI to pay $67 mln over drug claims - U.S. Justice Dept

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Pharmaceutical companies Genentech and OSI Pharmaceuticals LLC will pay $67 million to resolve allegations they made misleading statements about the effectiveness of lung cancer drug Tarceva, the U.S. Justice Department said on Monday.

The claims alleged that between 2006 and 2011, the companies misrepresented the effectiveness of Tarceva to physicians and other healthcare providers to treat certain patients with non-small cell lung cancer, the department said in a statement.

As a part of the settlement, the federal government will get $62.6 million and state Medicaid programs will get $4.4 million.

Medicaid is the joint U.S. federal-state healthcare program for the poor.

“We believe our Tarceva promotional communications and practices were and are entirely proper and in compliance with the law,” said Holli Kolkey, a spokeswoman for Genentech, a unit of Swiss drugmaker Roche Holding AG.

Kolkey added that the settlement allows the company to avoid civil litigation.

Astellas Pharma Inc, which bought U.S. biotech OSI Pharmaceuticals for $4 billion in cash in 2010, said that it had decided to resolve the matter expeditiously, and noted that the alleged conduct preceded the deal.