So, tell me. Which is worse, going on vacation with a friend you’ve helped out a couple times, or hiding from physicians the fact that your cancer drugs kill patients in order to profit?
Not likely. Not after New Jersey hears the shocking story told by Beverly Brown, a top saleswoman at the pharmaceutical company [GOP Senate Candidate Bob] Hugin helped to build, Celgene.
Brown filed a whistleblower lawsuit in 2014 accusing Celgene of putting cancer patients in danger by hiding information about potentially fatal side effects of two Celgene anti-cancer drugs. In her complaint, she recounts a mandatory conference call in which two Celgene doctors told sales executives that the drugs can cause fatal blood clots and instructed them on how to conceal the risk from doctors. Doctors, she said, were routinely paid kickbacks to prescribe Celgene drugs.
But, of course, it’s just a whistleblower suit and that isn’t proof, is it? After all, it’s not like Hugin knew or paid the whisteblower off to shut up, is it?
Celgene denies it all, but the company didn’t fight the accusations in court. It settled the lawsuit for a staggering $280 million in July of last year, while Hugin served as CEO and chairman.
Why did Celgene settle? Hugin tells our former friend Tom Moran it was to protect the share price.
“We would have lost billions of dollars in market capitalization,” Hugin said. “And maybe we could discover the next big cancer drug instead of fighting in court.”
Maybe that “next big cancer drug” wouldn’t kill the people it was supposed to heal?