Hugin claims to be some great innovator, but ‘He’s no Steve Jobs’
New Brunswick, NJ – Greedy, drug company CEO Bob Hugin purports himself to be some biotech genius leading Celgene to create the next medical breakthrough, but according to at least two lawsuits filed against him and his company, he’s anything but. After Bob Hugin was forced in 2017 to pay Boston Children’s Hospital nearly $200 million it stiffed the hospital in patent royalties following its discovery of Celgene’s blockbuster drugs’ cancer-fighting properties, he and his company were sued this March for allegedly lying to investors about the results of failed drug trials while on Hugin’s watch.
“It’s time to pull the curtain on the ‘Wizard of Celgene’ and reveal Bob Hugin for what he really is—a fraud,” said Menendez Campaign Communications Director Steve Sandberg. “Despite all he says he invested in research and development, name one major discovery that Celgene made under his watch—just one. Not even Celgene’s big money-maker, Revlimid, was his. Bob Hugin can don a white lab coat and pretend to care about patients, but he’s no scientist, doctor or medical researcher in search of a cure; he’s a Wall Street banker whose sole goal is to make money, and tragically, he made a fortune preying on the suffering of cancer patients. Bob Hugin is a fraud, and New Jerseyans can see right through his phony charade.”
In public filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in February 2017, Celgene announced it had agreed to pay Boston Children’s Hospital $198.5 million to settle a patent dispute over Celgene’s successful drugs Revlimid and Pomalyst. After the hospital’s research team discovered that thalidomide—from which both drugs are derived—could effectively treat certain cancers, Hugin’s predecessor at Celgene bought the hospital’s exclusive patent rights in 2002 in exchange for royalty payments on the drugs’ sales. But by 2013 and Bob Hugin at the helm of the company, the hospital claimed Celgene breached their contract and ceased making those payments.
In March, a lawsuit filed in Newark Federal Court accused Bob Hugin and Celgene of making “materially false or misleading statements” to investors about the failure of ongoing drug trials in the company’s product pipeline, while simultaneously hiking the price of Revlimid multiple times to boost the company’s stock value. Revlimid sales currently account for nearly 80% of Celgene’s total revenues. Shareholders alleged Hugin’s and his company’s “wrongful acts and omissions” caused them to buy Celgene stock at “artificially inflated prices” and that investors suffered “economic harm and damages” after the the company’s stock plummeted more than 40% when the truth of their actions was revealed.
As the head of Celgene, Hugin arbitrarily hiked the price of the pharmaceutical giant’s most successful cancer drug three times in one year, while simultaneously giving cancer patients in Russia a 45% discount on the same drug. During the same period, Hugin personally made $48 million over his last 15 months at Celgene. In defending his pricing decisions, Hugin admitted to price gouging American cancer patients, telling the Press of AC, “… if [a drug] becomes more effective and more valuable, then more value should be accrued to the drug.”
According to a separate federal lawsuit Hugin settled for $280 million, he and Celgene put cancer patients at risk for potentially fatal side-effects when his company allegedly lied to physicians and marketed their dangerous drugs off-label for purposes not approved by the FDA. The 28-count federal whistleblower complaint brought by the U.S. Dept. of Justice, 28 states—including New Jersey—and the District of Columbia specifically claimed that Bob Hugin and his drug company “put patients at risk” to “boost sales” and also alleged Celgene defrauded Medicare, Medicaid and Tri-Care—the veterans’ health system—and orchestrated a kickback scheme in which physicians were paid to prescribe the drugs.
“As a consequence of Defendant’s wrongdoing, patients were placed at significant risk of physical and financial harm,” the lawsuit stated. “Through illegal marketing activities…Celgene exponentially expanded the markets for Thalomid and Revlimid, which dramatically increased the Company’s revenues at the expense of federal, state, and city governments.”
The Trump FDA has also cited Celgene, during Hugin’s reign, as the #1 offender in blocking the manufacturing of lower-cost generics, manipulating the market and artificially increasing demand for their drug. Hugin and Celgene also spent millions lobbying Congress to torpedo legislation that would have made it easier for generics to come to market, giving patients lower-cost alternatives to Celgene’s high-priced drugs.