Pharmaceutical company Endo Health Solutions Inc. and its subsidiary Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. (Endo) have agreed to pay $192.7 million to resolve criminal and civil liability arising from Endo’s marketing of the prescription drug Lidoderm for uses not approved as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Justice Department announced today. The resolution includes a deferred prosecution agreement and forfeiture totaling $20.8 million and civil false claims settlements with the federal government and the states and the District of Columbia totaling $171.9 million. Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. is a Delaware corporation headquartered in Malvern, Pa.
“FDA’s drug approval process is designed to ensure that companies market their products for uses that are proven to be safe and effective,” said Assistant Attorney General for the Justice Department’s Civil Division Stuart F. Delery. “We will hold accountable those who circumvent that process in pursuit of financial gain.”
In a criminal information filed today in the Northern District of New York, the government charged that, between 2002 and 2006, Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. introduced into interstate commerce Lidoderm that was misbranded under the Federal Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act (FDCA). The FDCA requires a company, such as Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., to specify the intended uses of a product in its new drug application to the FDA. Once approved, a drug may not be introduced into interstate commerce for unapproved or “off-label” uses until the company receives FDA approval for the new intended uses. During the period of 2002 to 2006, Lidoderm was approved by the FDA only for the relief of pain associated with post-herpetic neuralgia (PHN), a complication of shingles. The information alleges that, during the relevant time period, the Lidoderm distributed nationwide by Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. was misbranded because its labeling lacked adequate directions for use in the treatment of non-PHN related pain, including low back pain, diabetic neuropathy and carpal tunnel syndrome. These uses were intended by Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. but never approved by the FDA. The information further alleges that certain Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc. sales managers provided instruction to certain sales representatives concerning how to expand sales conversations with doctors beyond PHN and encouraged promotion of Lidoderm in workers’ compensation clinics.