Four top officials, current and former, at Serono Laboratories, Norwell, Mass., the U.S. arm of Swiss drugmaker Ares-Serono, were indicted on federal charges for allegedly offering physicians free trips to Cannes, France, in 1999 in exchange for writing more prescriptions for a Serono AIDS drug. The drug was sold in 12-week courses of therapy at a cost of $21,168, and about 75% of sales were paid for by Medicaid, according to the indictment by the U.S. attorney in Boston. Some physicians rejected the offer, but others accepted and the company picked up the tab for "thousands of dollars" for rooms, meals, entertainment and gifts, the indictment charged. A spokesman for the U.S. attorney's office said the investigation was continuing. -- by Joseph Conn
AIDS drug reps allegedly offered trips for prescriptions
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