The drugmaker Regeneron funneled tens of millions of dollars to a charity that paid the out-of-pocket costs for patients who took the company’s expensive eye drug, then lied to internal auditors about it, according to a lawsuit filed Wednesday by federal prosecutors in Massachusetts.

The suit, filed in the U.S. District Court of Massachusetts in Boston, claims that Regeneron violated federal anti-kickback laws by using the patient-assistance fund to encourage doctors to prescribe their drug, Eylea, over a less-expensive competitor.

“Kickback schemes can undermine our health care system, compromise medical decisions, and waste taxpayer dollars,” said Phillip Coyne, the special agent in charge at the inspector general’s office in Boston for the Department of Health and Human Services.

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