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Aegerion Pharmaceuticals, Inc. AEGR announced that it has reached preliminary agreements with the U.S. Department of Justice (DoJ) and staff of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding a settlement of the ongoing investigations by the agencies into the company’s sales activities and disclosures related to its lead drug, Juxtapid.
We remind investors that Aegerion had received a subpoena from the DoJ in late 2013, wherein the latter requested documents regarding its marketing and sale of Juxtapid in the U.S. In late 2014, the company received another subpoena from the SEC for certain information related to sales activities and disclosures for Juxtapid.
As a result of the settlement agreement, Aegerion will pay $40 million to the DoJ and the SEC over a period of five years in following tranches: approximately $3 million upon finalization of the settlement; around $3.7 million per year, payable quarterly, for three years following finalization of the settlement, and roughly $13 million per year, payable quarterly, during the fourth and fifth year after finalization of the settlement.
Consequently, Aegerion increased its existing reserve related to the investigations by approximately $28 million, bringing the aggregate reserve for these matters to approximately $40 million.
Aegerion is also required to plead guilty for alleged marketing of Juxtapid with inadequate directions for use, and an alleged failure to comply with a requirement of the Juxtapid Risk Evaluation and Mitigation Strategies. The company will enter into a separate five-year deferred prosecution agreement with regard to charges that it has violated the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act and engaged in obstruction of justice relating to the REMS program.
We note that Aegerion is currently facing challenging market conditions as the launch of PCSK9 inhibitors in the U.S. market hurt Juxtapid sales significantly and will continue to do so in the forthcoming quarters.
Aegerion sports a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks in the healthcare sector include Acorda Therapeutics ACOR, Abbott Laboratories ABT and Sanofi SNY. All the three companies carry a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).
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