LOS ANGELES (AP) — California has joined a whistleblower lawsuit that claims Bristol-Myers Squibb bribed doctors to prescribe its drugs, costing insurers millions of dollars.

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones says the state recently joined a 2007 suit filed by three current and former employees.

He says the suit contends that salespeople for the pharmaceutical giant gave doctors speaking fees and expensive meals, gifts and trips in return for prescribing its products.

The suit further claims that the prescription rates were tracked and that doctors who were high prescribers were rewarded while those with lower figures were threatened with the loss of perks.

Jones alleges that at least 15,000 kickbacks were made from 1999-2005 and he says the alleged practice may be continuing.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

Comments (3)
  1. Duh says:

    Well I think they need to do the same with ALL drug companies because they all do that.

  2. Eric says:

    Pharma needs speakers. Some sspeakers are more passionate about the product than others and it is natural that they woulkd be preferred or rewarded over less passionate and lower prescribers. Every time a physician receives and honorarium from a pharma co it is not a kickback or inducement. Sales tracking data down to the zip code and recently prescriber level has been around for 30years but clearly more sophisticated now. If the pharma comopanies dont have an idea of the physicians pootential to prescribe they cannot place their marketing efforts effectively to get a return on investment. It’s not like these patients received drugs that didnt work.

  3. Melanie says:

    I just wish that BIG oil was treated to the same abuse that the pharma companies are. They are the only ones developing the drugs that treat our illnesses and the scrutiny is just ridiculous.

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