Costly Weight Loss Claims: Par Pharmaceutical Pays $45 Million To Settle Whistleblower Off-Label Claims

Par Pharmaceutical Company has agreed to pay $45 million to settle civil and criminal allegations that the company launched a long term care sales force to promote Megace ES for off-label uses including weight loss in elderly patients.  The FDA approved Megace ES in July 2005 for treatment of anorexia, cachexia, or an unexplained, significant weight loss in patients diagnosed with AIDs.

The whistleblower, Christine Thompson, was one of just ten Regional Business Managers, and supported her claim with executive level emails.  The federal investigation into Par’s marketing practices was conducted through a collaborative effort of the U.S. Department of Justice, and the U.S. Attorney’s Offices for the District of New Jersey.  The New York State Assistant Attorney General’s Office led the investigation on behalf of the states and the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units.

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