New Brunswick, NJ – The Menendez for Senate Campaign today released four new web ads highlighting the key charges in a whistleblower fraud case brought by the U.S. Dept. of Justice (DOJ), New Jersey, 27 other states and the District of Columbia accusing CEO Bob Hugin and his company, Celgene, of breaking federal law.
According to the federal lawsuit, Hugin and Celgene defrauded Medicare, promoted two of its most successful drugs off-label for uses not approved by the FDA, misled doctors and patients about the drugs’ effectiveness and side effects, and orchestrated a kickback scheme in which physicians were paid to prescribe the drugs. Hugin and Celgene were accused of putting patients at risk to boost sales.
After five years dragging through the courts, Celgene agreed to pay $280 million to settle the case only after Bob Hugin gave a videotaped, sworn deposition, and then had the record sealed.
“Bob Hugin is a greedy, corrupt drug company CEO who consistently and callously puts profits over patients, then paid $280 million to make his problems go away. This is the real Bob Hugin, the face of corporate greed who made his fortune ripping off cancer patients,” said Menendez for Senate Communications Director Steve Sandberg. “You don’t spend $280 million if you did nothing wrong. You don’t push to have the record sealed if you had nothing to hide. What did Bob Hugin say while under oath that spooked Celgene’s lawyers into settling? It’s time Bob Hugin answer for what he did—preying on the sick and suffering—while the head of Celgene.”
As the head of Celgene, Hugin arbitrarily hiked the price of the pharmaceutical giant’s most successful cancer drug three times in one year, while simultaneously giving cancer patients in Russia a 45% discount on the same drug. During the same period, Hugin personally made $48 million over his last 15 months at Celgene. In defending his pricing decisions, Hugin admitted to price gouging American cancer patients, telling the Press of AC, “… if [a drug] becomes more effective and more valuable, then more value should be accrued to the drug.”
The Trump FDA has also cited Celgene, during Hugin’s reign, as the #1 offender in blocking the manufacturing of lower-cost generics, manipulating the market and artificially increasing demand for their drug. Hugin and Celgene also spent millions lobbying Congress to torpedo legislation that would have made it easier for generics to come to market, giving patients lower-cost alternatives to Celgene’s high-priced drugs.