NJ serves Amgen in marketing probe

Amgen, you've been served. The New Jersey Attorney General has sent out a subpoena to the California company, asking for "a comprehensive array of documents and information" related to Enbrel sales and marketing. At issue: whether Amgen violated patient confidentiality laws and whether the company engaged in off-label marketing.

You'll recall that two sales reps are in arbitration with the company, saying they were fired for refusing to participate in what they considered unethical and/or illegal marketing practices. They say they were pressured to get access to patient data so that they could tag people with psoriasis for possible Enbrel treatment. And they say they were told to push the drug not just for moderate or severe psoriasis--for which the drug is FDA-approved--but also for mild psoriasis, an off-label use. Amgen says the accusations are "completely without merit" and that reps were told to "follow compliance guidelines with absolute consistency."

In other Enbrel news, a new study shows that kids under 17 saw marked improvement in their moderate to severe psoriasis with Enbrel treatment. Of the kids enrolled, 57 percent showed at least 75 percent relief from their symptoms.

- see the release
- read this New York Times article
- get the study news from U.S. News & World Report