AbbVie shares fall as Humira lawsuit ramps up

By Maggie Lynch

- Last updated on GMT

(Image: Getty/Utah778)
(Image: Getty/Utah778)

Related tags Humira Biosimilars Biologics AbbVie lawsuit insurance

The California Department of Insurance has sued AbbVie for allegedly providing monetary gifts to health-care providers for prescribing its biologic, Humira.

According to the suit, AbbVie allegedly provided kickbacks and additional professional services to those who prescribed Humira. The services delivered were free insurance processing, as well as marketing assistance.

The services were allegedly carried out by AbbVie nurse ambassadors, who were said to have visited patients in their homes after they were prescribed Humira.

It was also recently announced that Bernstein Liebhard, an investor’s rights law firm, is now investigating potential securities fraud claims on behalf of shareholders of AbbVie. As of September 25, AbbVie’s stock price was still down by $2.53 (€2.15) after the release of the news, now sitting at $93.42. 

AbbVie was not able to give us comment, however, in a statement the company said, “We believe the allegations are without merit. AbbVie operates in compliance with the many state and federal laws that govern interactions with healthcare providers and patients.”

Conversely, California’s insurance commissioner, Dave Jones, said in a statement, “AbbVie spent millions convincing patients and health care professionals that AbbVie Ambassadors were patient advocates—in fact, the Ambassadors were Humira advocates hired to do one thing, keep patients on a dangerous drug at any cost.”

The alleged ‘dangerous drug’ ​refers to the apparent misleading and misinforming of patients of the side effects of Humira. According to the lawsuit against AbbVie, the drug can lead to​ invasive fungal infections, optic neuritis, peripheral neuropath, leukemia, and hepatoplenic T-cell lymphoma.

AbbVie reported its full-year and fourth-quarter 2017 financial results​ and stated that the full-year sales of Humira at $18.4bn. Numerous biosimilars of Humira have been developed, are being developed, or have been approved for treatment for the best-selling drug.

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