The New Jersey attorney general has subpoenaed drug maker, Amgen, following allegations of patient privacy law and marketing violations concerning the rheumatoid arthritis drug Enbrel. Former sales reps have made claims that they were pushed make attempts at accessing patient medical information and to market directly to patients. Amgen says that the claims have no merit and that their reps have never been asked to deviate from compliance guidelines.
Enbrel, which Amgen co-markets with Wyeth, is approved for several conditions, including rheumatoid arthritis and moderate to severe psoriasis.
These are serious allegations and if they are sustainable the company could see harsh fines levied against them in addition to possible lawsuits stemming from the allegations. We will soon see what the investigation will turn up. Big pharma has always looked for ways to bend the rules or cut corners in order to gain an advantage in an extremely competitive field. I am sure that almost every pharmaceutical company out there employs some questionable practices that are hidden to the public, but when employees become former employees this type of privileged information can come back to bite you.
For more information on this subject, please refer to the section on Drugs, Medical Devices, and Implants.