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N.J. attorney general investigates Amgen over Enbrel accusations


NEW YORK Amgen is being investigated by New Jersey attorney general Anne Milgram as to whether it violated patient confidentiality laws and engaged in off-label marketing with its rheumatoid arthritis and psoriasis treatment drug Enbrel, according to The New York Times.

The investigation was initiated after accusations by two former Amgen sales representatives who said they were pressured by their managers to get access to patient data to find people with psoriasis who might be candidates for Enbrel. The representatives also said that the company tried to sell the drug for mild psoriasis, even though the drug is only approved for moderate to severe psoriasis.

Federal laws prohibit the sharing of medical information with unnecessary parties, though there are different interpretations of the rules. It is not clear whether there were violations in this case or, if there were, whether they were by Amgen or by the doctors.

A spokeswoman for Amgen, Mary Klem, told the Times that the accusations were “completely without merit” and that Amgen would cooperate with the investigation. She said Amgen representatives were instructed to “follow compliance guidelines with absolute consistency.”

Milgram has issued a subpoena to Amgen for “a comprehensive array of documents and information” related to the marketing and prescribing of Enbrel.

Enbrel had sales of nearly $3 billion in 2006.

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