(CN) – The Supreme Court on Monday refused to block a lawsuit against a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary by salesmen who accused the company of giving kickbacks to doctors for prescribing its anemia drug ProCrit.
A 2003 lawsuitclaimed the kickbacks were paid by the company’s Ortho Biotech Products unit.
The Boston-based 1st Circuit reinstated the kickback part of the lawsuit, which was brought by Mark Duxbury and Dean McClellan, a pair of Johnson & Johnson sales reps-turned-whistleblowers.
The appellate panel dismissed a part of their complaint that accused the pharmaceutical giant of convincing doctors to prescribe the drug for unauthorized uses and at dangerously high doses because similar claims were made in another lawsuit.
The two men claimed the kickbacks included “free ProCrit, off-invoice discounts and cash in the form of rebates, consulting fees, educational grants, payments to participate in studies or trials, and advisory board honoraria,” according to the ruling.
Such kickbacks caused doctors to them submit false Medicare claims for ProCrit, the two claimed.
ProCrit is used to treat anemia resulting from chemotherapy, chronic kidney disease, HIV infection and blood loss.