Regeneron gets wrapped up in federal patient assistance investigation

The government’s probe of biopharma ties with patient assistance programs is growing into a who’s who of Big Biotech companies. After reaching out to Gilead Sciences, Celgene and Biogen, U.S. attorneys are asking Regeneron about its relationships with the nonprofits.

Regeneron disclosed in a SEC filing that it received a subpoena from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts for information and documents about its ties with patient assistance programs for drugs including Eylea, Praluent, Arcalyst and Zaltrap.

The nonprofits help patients afford expensive medicines, but they’ve come under fire as critics contend that pharma companies are using them to boost sales. Government regulations prohibit drugmakers from tying charitable donations to specific support for their own drugs.

Regeneron is cooperating with the feds, according to its filing. The company received the subpoena last month.

The news comes only a week after Biogen disclosed a federal subpoena for documents about government price reporting, rebate payments and its copay assistance programs for Avonex, Tecfidera, Tysabri and Plegridy.

Before Biogen, the feds asked for info from Celgene, Gilead, Horizon Pharma, Jazz and Valeant.

Aside from the governmental investigation, Celgene also faces a whistleblower suit claiming the company worked to “game the system” with contributions to steer charities toward its drugs. The company denied the charge.

For Regeneron, the disclosure came the same week it had a significant court win in an entirely different realm. It and marketing partner Sanofi won a crucial reprieve from a court on the PCSK9 drug Praluent, allowing the pair to continue selling the med during a patent fight with Amgen.