Phillips & Cohen attorney Stephen Hasegawa is quoted in an article appearing in S&P Global’s Market Intelligence about responses to a California lawsuit against AbbVie Inc. The lawsuit alleges that the pharmaceutical company used a scheme of kickbacks to promote its blockbuster rheumatoid arthritis drug Humira.
“Pharmaceutical companies are extraordinarily creative in the ways that they attempt to get business for themselves,” said Stephen Hasegawa, a whistleblower lawyer at Phillips & Cohen. “We’ve seen a drop in off-label marketing that happened in the earlier part of the last decade, and kickbacks are certainly at the fore right now. And we’re seeing more and more creative ways in which pharmaceutical companies are employing kickback schemes.”
An AbbVie spokesperson said that the intention of employing ambassadors was to provide nursing support to patients. But Hasegawa sees it as a shifting strategy in marketing drugs.
“We are seeing an increasing shift in what I view as a more pernicious sort of kickback, which is the provision of consulting service and valuable business services,” Hasegawa said. “To me it seems in the pharmaceutical industry there’s a race to the bottom now, an arms race to see who can provide the best free stuff as a way of getting business.”