THE BIG SICK

Whistleblowers: Pharma Firm Linked to 97,000% Price Hike ‘Bribed Docs to Boost Sales’

The pharmaceutical industry is not well. Whistleblowers have alleged that pharma company Questcor—which became notorious for causing one of the largest drug price increases in U.S. history—bribed doctors to increase sales alongside the near 97,000% price hike. Unsealed federal court documents seen by CNN contains an allegation from the the whistleblowers that this was part of an intentional “multi-tiered strategy” to boost sales of H.P. Acthar Gel and allegedly cheat the government out of millions of dollars. The price of the drug, used to treat infant seizure disorder, has increased from $40 a vial in 2000 to nearly $39,000 today. The price increase has pushed the drug's annual sales over $1 billion—many of those are driven by Medicare reimbursements. The Justice Department has intervened in the case, suggesting it believes sign the whistleblower allegations are credible. Questcor is now known as Mallinckrodt—the company didn't deny the accusations to CNN but said the fault lies with Questcor.