LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA
Celgene Corporation agreed to settle a whistleblower lawsuit out-of-court for $280 million. Former Celgene salesperson Beverly Brown had been trained to promote Thalomid and Revlimid as cancer treatments. Thalomid is a trade name for thalidomide, the morning sickness drug responsible for a rash of birth defects in the 1950s and 1960s, and Revlimid is a slightly-modified formulation. Both were approved by the Food and Drug Administration in 1998 for treating leprosy, not cancer. And while the FDA would eventually approve limited cancer applications, Celgene raked in billions of dollars selling it as such before the fact. The suit further claims doctors and patients were not warned about potential side effects. Legal papers censured aggressive marketing by pharmaceutical companies and said Celgene was essentially engaging in human experimentation. Celgene denied wrongdoing and agreed to settle, citing only the distraction and expense of litigation.