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Pharmaceutical Giant Amgen Settles for $71 Million For Misleading Consumers

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Updated: | Originally published: ;

Pharmaceutical company Amgen Inc. has settled with 48 states and the District of Columbia for $71 million after being accused of illegally promoting two drugs for “off-label” uses, New York State Attorney General Eric Schneiderman announced Tuesday.

The pharmaceutical company was accused of promoting its two brands, Aranesp and Enbrel, for uses not approved by the FDA.

“Pharmaceutical companies are prohibited from making unapproved and unsubstantiated claims about prescription drugs,” Schneiderman said in a press release. “Consumers need to have confidence in the accuracy of claims made by pharmaceutical companies.”

Aranesp is an anemia medication that works by stimulating bone marrow production of red blood cells. Enbrel is used to treat multiple conditions, notably chronic and severe plaque psoriasis.

A complaint filed against Amgen said Aranesp was promoted for longer dosing frequencies and for cancer-caused anemia, for which it had neither FDA approval nor scientific proof. Enbrel was promoted for mild cases of plaque psoriasis, despite being only approved for severe cases; it was also advertised to be far more effective than scientifically shown, according to the complaint.

As part of the settlement Amgen will have to change its advertising strategy to exclude it of its current misleading intent and is forbidden from continuing its current claims.

In a statement, Amgen responded by saying it “is pleased to have this matter resolved, and remains committed to fulfilling its mission to serve patients.”

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Write to Tanya Basu at tanya.basu@time.com