The Bayer Corporation has been a household name for decades, selling aspirin and other pharmaceutical products to consumers. Now the Justice Department announces $40 million in penalties for its actions involving Trasylol, Avelox and Baycol. The settlement resulted from two whistleblower complaints filed and pursued for two decades by Laurie Simpson, a former employee in the company’s marketing department.
Simpson’s initial lawsuit filed in the District of New Jersey alleged that the drug giant paid kickbacks to hospitals and doctors who used Trasylol and Avelox. Doctors use Trasylol to control bleeding during some heart surgeries. Avelox is an antibiotic used to fight some types of bacteria.
Simpson also alleged that Bayer marketed the two products for off-label uses (uses not approved by the FDA) that were not necessary or reasonable. These actions led to false claims to Medicare and Medicaid programs involving 26 states and the District of Columbia.
Simpson filed the second lawsuit over the company’s Baycol, which was eventually moved to the District of Minnesota. This suit alleged that the company knew about the drug’s risk for causing rhabdomyolysis and its efficacy compared with other statins. The company also induced the Defense Logistics Agency to renew contracts for Baycol. Both Baycol and Trasylol were later taken off the market for safety reasons.