Schering-Plough Corp., Kenilworth, N.J., and a subsidiary will pay a total of $435 million to settle civil and criminal charges related to the sale and marketing of several drugs, and the subsidiary, Schering Sales Corp., pleaded guilty to a criminal conspiracy to make false statements. Schering-Plough allegedly paid physicians kickbacks to prescribe drugs used to treat brain tumors, bladder cancer and hepatitis C, and improperly promoted the drugs for unapproved uses. The company also allegedly didn't report its lowest prices to the federal government for an antihistamine and a stomach drug in order to avoid paying state Medicaid programs millions of dollars in rebates. The subsidiary will pay $180 million in criminal fines and be excluded from federal healthcare programs. Schering-Plough, which settled the civil charges without admitting wrongdoing, will pay $255 million in civil penalties. It also agreed to extend both the length and scope of an existing corporate integrity agreement. The company signed the original CIA in 2004 as part of a previous, $346 million settlement of civil and criminal charges.
Schering-Plough said its litigation reserves will cover the latest settlement amount. It disclosed the government investigations in 2003. In a news release, the company's senior vice president of global compliance and business practices, Brent Saunders, said, "With this agreement, we are putting issues from the past behind us."