Legal

Dogged by accusations of shady sales practices, Alexion finds itself under investigation by HHS — Bloomberg

Ludwig Hantson

Shares of Alexion Pharmaceuticals took a hit on Thursday afternoon after Bloomberg reported that the OIG’s office in Health and Human Services has opened an investigation into the company. The statement from the federal agency came in response to a Freedom of Information Act query and didn’t detail the reasons for the probe.

Alexion’s shares $ALXN tumbled 4% on the news.

Alexion, though, has been under a cloud since its CEO and CFO got the boot late last year following internal allegations regarding the company’s sales practices. The company was accused of pressuring reps to push expedited Soliris sales. And the SEC and Department of Justice have gotten into the act with their own investigations of the company under the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act.

Bloomberg has also been looking into Alexion’s sales practices in Brazil, which have led to a separate probe to see if the biotech’s sales organization employed fraudulent methods to get its big drug, Soliris, covered by the state. Hundreds of lawsuits have been used to gain coverage of the drug in Brazil.

A spokesperson for the OIG’s office declined comment, but noted that one investigation has been noted in the company’s 10-K.

Over the last few months Alexion has been undergoing a top-to-bottom revamp, starting with a new executive team recruited by new CEO Ludwig Hantson. Hantson and his team are expected to push for an overhaul of the pipeline while they field these new investigations into its sales organization. Hantson has done everything except hang an “Under New Management” sign on the front of the business.


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