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Novartis Facing Whistleblower Complaint It Offered Kickbacks to Market Elidel for Infant Use

Filed June 20th, 2013 Joshua Sophy

Swiss drug maker Novartis is facing federal charges that it offered kickbacks to a salesperson and two doctors to pitch Elidel, a known dangerous prescription drug, for use in infants.

According to a report, a federal judge has ruled that Novartis must face claims that were first filed in a confidential whistleblower complaint in 2006 regarding the dermatitis drug Elidel. Novartis appealed the claim but U.S. District Judge Gene Pratter ruled recently that some claims will stand.

The whistleblower complaint was filed by a former Novartis salesman who says that his employer trained and paid him to sell Elidel for use in children under the age of 2. This was despite the fact that the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) had determined that the drug was not safe for children older than 3 months but younger than 2 years. Even more, Novartis had paid not only this salesman but also two doctors who backed the allegedly safe use of Elidel for children younger than 2, according to the report.

The marketing continued even in the face of a warning from the FDA that stated Elidel increased the risk of cancer in animal tests and the rate of respiratory infections when it was used on children younger than 2.

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