Humira Settlement Results in $25M Payment by AbbVie Over Kickbacks, Lack of Proper Side Effects Warnings

California officials indicate AbbVie agreed to pay $24 million to resolve claims the company committed fraud by not fully reporting the side effects of Humira while marketing of the blockbuster immunosuppressant drug.

The California Department of Insurance Fraud issued a press release on August 6, announcing the Humira settlement agreement (PDF) with AbbVie, Inc.

According to state officials, AbbVie’s marketing tactics resulted in more than $1 billion in improper Humira prescription claims. The fraud charges were the result of a whistleblower lawsuit filed in 2018 by a registered nurse, who indicated that she and other so called “Nurse Ambassadors” interacted with patients without telling them they were being paid by Humira, and indicated AbbVie’s sales reps provided valuable goods and services to doctors in order to get them to prescribe Humira.

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State investigators found the Nurse Ambassadors interfered with doctor-patient communications and say they failed to provide patients with a full accounting of the drug’s potential side effects and drawbacks.

Humira (adalimumab) is a tumor necrosis factor blocker, also known as TNF blocker, which was approved by the FDA in 2003 for treatment of rheumatoid arthritis. It later gained approval for treatment of psoriatic arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn’s disease, moderate to severe chronic psoriasis and juvenile idiopathic arthritis, which was previously called juvenile rheumatoid arthritis. The drug pulled in sales of $6.5 billion in 2010.

“AbbVie’s prior practices in marketing HUMIRA egregiously put profits ahead of transparency in patient care and violated California law,” California Department of Insurance Commissioner Ricardo Lara said in the press release. “This settlement delivers important reforms to AbbVie’s business practices and a substantial monetary recovery that will be used to continue to combat insurance fraud.”

While AbbVie has refused to admit guilt, the company agreed to pay $24 million to resolve the claims and will require nurse ambassadors to disclose they work for the drug maker. AbbVie will also prohibit Humira sales representatives from providing offsite business meals and other gifts; will provide patients with the FDA-approved Humira prescription and medication guides; and will bar nurse ambassadors from having patient-specific discussions with health care providers.

In addition, the company will prohibit its employees from describing nurse ambassadors as extensions of AbbVie officers and will not participate in conversations between patients and insurance companies.

11 Comments

  • JamesNovember 20, 2023 at 6:13 pm

    After taking humira for many years I recently developed nerapathy I had a nerve biopsy and it showed nerve damage

  • AdamFebruary 16, 2023 at 4:26 pm

    I fell down on a bike doing about 30 I hurt my back and my elbows end up going to the hospital cuz I passed a little bit of blood scared me I thought maybe something was wrong they told me that they thought I had ulcerative colitis that fast without any proof results or anything told me to start taking the salamine which started making symptoms a little worse I started passing white and red blood [Show More]I fell down on a bike doing about 30 I hurt my back and my elbows end up going to the hospital cuz I passed a little bit of blood scared me I thought maybe something was wrong they told me that they thought I had ulcerative colitis that fast without any proof results or anything told me to start taking the salamine which started making symptoms a little worse I started passing white and red blood cells soon after that they told me I had Crohn's disease cancerous tumors and polyps in my intestines I've always been a healthy person hadn't always had the best diet which led to an inflamed stomach which were pushing acids into my intestines these people fed off this the doctors did just like I said Dad stated I had Crohn's disease I asked for tests they kept on losing the paperwork when it actually come down to it I had started missing doses cuz my insurance I mean I had I have nerve problems I have parts of my back I can't feel I busted out and hives from my shoulders down in my arms my legs my legs began to get Skelly and rashy itchy all the time my whole body started getting really ashy I wasn't able to heal up any wounds every time I told my doctor that there was a problem or something was going on the medication was hurting my stomach or my intestines they would schedule an appointment for 6 months out it began to get so bad that my liver and kidneys started shutting down my intestines we're inflamed the insurance messed up my order thank gosh because I realized and found out soon after that the medication was giving me all these problems I asked for a blood test results of the kidney the liver see what was going on and see if there's antibodies which could be possible I've been told time and time again they don't know where I went I went to my doctor's facility a couple doors down is where I took the blood test every test they've asked they know what they're doing and they're killing us is exactly what was going on and happening to me and a lot of us other people out there as soon as I had been off the medication I no longer passed any red blood cells in my stool white blood cells my stools are normal I can function again I can think clearly I'm able to eat food I'm able to start functioning I have so many more problems from this medication please everybody throw your stuff up here and and share please a lot of us are dying because they keep on shutting us up don't be another casualty only for when I actually bring this up to my doctor then they stated after my second colonoscopy I should have never even took the medication they don't know why they gave it to me but they still were trying to give it to me what does that say anyways guys keep your viable evidence that means anything written any text messages anything on paper anything you're going to need it

  • JennyJune 29, 2022 at 2:31 am

    I just received my Humira products in the mail today. Ironically, today has been my best day in weeks or months....I almost felt normal! I am 59. Reading over the many side effects of this drug is disturbing to me. I just ordered some Omega XL also....and stepping out into the risk of putting this drug into my body takes contemplation and scrutiny....TB?? Don't want it....already diag with Type[Show More]I just received my Humira products in the mail today. Ironically, today has been my best day in weeks or months....I almost felt normal! I am 59. Reading over the many side effects of this drug is disturbing to me. I just ordered some Omega XL also....and stepping out into the risk of putting this drug into my body takes contemplation and scrutiny....TB?? Don't want it....already diag with Type 2 Diabetes about a year ago....got this under control. Fatigue and tenderness and soreness in feet, ankles, legs and knees and fingers has been challenging for weeks and months. I am truly in the fence now. Apprehensive.

  • KenMay 19, 2022 at 6:44 pm

    I was given Humira at a dermatologist office for psoriasis. I ended up being hospitalized a few months later. In I.C.U. with Sepsis, U.T.I. infection and E-cloi. Before being discharged from the hospital, I had a Pic line put in and was on antibiotics thru the I.V. 3 times daily for a month. My body was so full of infection that it lit up every P.E.T. scan I had, they told me I had pancreatic canc[Show More]I was given Humira at a dermatologist office for psoriasis. I ended up being hospitalized a few months later. In I.C.U. with Sepsis, U.T.I. infection and E-cloi. Before being discharged from the hospital, I had a Pic line put in and was on antibiotics thru the I.V. 3 times daily for a month. My body was so full of infection that it lit up every P.E.T. scan I had, they told me I had pancreatic cancer, which turned out to be false. But it ruined my lower back, and knees. Eventually they want to burn the nerves in my back. It damaged me both physically and mentally for life.;

  • FredJanuary 21, 2022 at 8:02 am

    Humira gave me an infection, sepsis, abscess, deterioration of of two vertebrae resulting in two back surgeries and a fusion of my T5 thru T12 fusion plus nerve damage.

  • PeggyDecember 14, 2021 at 1:45 pm

    My husband of 42 years passed 12-3-21 from Non Hodgkins Lymphoma from Humara injections. We were never told that this medication could and did cause the cancer.

  • LoriOctober 16, 2021 at 1:50 pm

    I was on humira until a tumor was found on my spine and it's possibly cancer. I'd like cancer. Be in the lawsuit

  • CarolynOctober 6, 2021 at 3:31 pm

    My husband was on Humira and died of Sepsis on 5-22-2021. I would like to join a class action lawsuit.

  • JamesAugust 1, 2021 at 8:01 pm

    I had taken Humira for Chrons. I was diagnosed with lung cancer after around 10-12 years of use

  • SandyApril 19, 2021 at 7:46 pm

    My husband died in 2014 from central nervous system lymphoma .He took humira (injections) for chrons/ulcerative colitis . Is there still a class action suit I join .I have my husbands medical records Sandy

  • BethFebruary 9, 2021 at 8:57 pm

    i used Humira for 3 years. Jan 4th 2021 had a biopsy done. results came back that it was an aggressive deep melanoma on my head.

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