A US federal court has ordered GE Healthcare, a unit of General Electric Company (GE), to pay $11.4 million in damages to Bracco Diagnostics Inc. (Bracco Diagnostics), a medical diagnostic imaging company, over marketing claims made regarding GE Healthcare’s Visipaque x-ray contrast agent.
Carlo Medici, president and chief executive officer of Bracco Diagnostics, stated, “Today’s ruling highlights the importance of conducting pharmaceutical marketing in an ethically responsible manner and accurately presenting the results of clinical research to healthcare providers to ensure the best patient care. We are pleased that the Court has demanded that GE Healthcare disclose the truth to healthcare professionals, many of whom have paid a significant premium for Visipaque™ over many years as a result of false statements that Visipaque™ was superior to Isovue®.”
In its ruling, the Court stated the following:
“Here, the Court is the fact-finder, and has found that GEH’s [GE Healthcare] conduct is in violation of the Lanham Act; accordingly, Bracco has demonstrated actual success of the merits and in turn, irreparable injury.”
“Finally, it is well within the public interest for this Court to enjoin GEH from disseminating false messages regarding Visipaque.”
“In connection with Bracco’s claim, the Court finds that an injunction and damages for post and future corrective advertising are appropriate remedies to prevent future violations of the Lanham Act.”
The Court has ordered GE Healthcare to take a series of corrective actions within 60 days, including, but not limited to:
Be permanently enjoined from making false claims about the comparative safety profile of Visipaque™;
Issue a press release that would also be posted on its website on the Court’s decision;
Issue corrective advertisements;
Re-train its sales and marketing staff in accordance with the Court’s decision;
When citing studies in its advertising, plainly identify which studies the findings relate to and refer to the comparator drugs by either their brand or scientific names.
GE Healthcare had also filed a counterclaim against Bracco Diagnostics, but the Judge granted GE Healthcare no relief whatsoever.