Amgen, Inc. v. Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds
Public Justice’s amicus brief in Amgen, Inc. v. Connecticut Retirement Plans and Trust Funds supports investors who were defrauded by pharmaceutical giant Amgen, a leading manufacturer of drugs for treatment of anemia frequently prescribed to cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy. The case involves a challenge to the district court certification for class action treatment of a securities action against Amgen alleging that the company knowingly or recklessly made materially misleading statements and omission concerning two of Amgen’s flagship products, Aranesp and Epogen. Public Justice’s brief refutes arguments made in an amicus brief filed in support of Amgen by the Chamber of Commerce and PhRMA that securities lawsuits unfairly target the pharmaceutical industry with frivolous litigation, thereby deterring innovations and life-saving treatments. Public Justice’s brief deflates that argument, citing dozens of examples of pharmaceutical companies marketing drugs for uses beyond those approved by the FDA, improperly influencing the practice of medicine, and manipulating drug prices through elaborate pricing schemes to increase Medicare and Medicaid payouts. The brief argues that Amgen made use of these unscrupulous marketing strategies by encouraging physicians to prescribe doses of its drugs in excess of the dosage approved by the FDA, thereby increasing the risk of mortality among patients and astronomically increasing profits. In marketing its products, Amgen was careful to focus on the benefits of its drugs, but hid from the public evidence that increased dosage of its products could result in increased harm, including death and serious cardiovascular events. The brief also cites evidence that Amgen marketed their products to physicians with information illustrating how doctors could funnel taxpayer dollars into profits by overprescribing Amgen’s drugs and billing the overfill amount to Medicare and Medicaid. The brief was authored by Earl Landers Vickery with assistance from Public Justice Executive Director Arthur Bryant and Motley Rice’s William Narwold and Ann Ritter.