Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and subsidiary Apothecon have agreed to pay $515 million to settle civil allegations regarding its pricing and marketing practices drawn from seven whistle-blower lawsuits and investigated by the U.S. Justice Department.
The settlement, announced by the U.S. attorneys office in Boston, also includes a five-year corporate integrity agreement. Bristol-Myers Squibb does not concede in the document that the governments claims are true. A news release from the company notes that the company previously disclosed the investigations and in December 2006 announced an agreement in principle that closely resembles what has been finalized.
The government alleges that the companies made illegal payments to doctors and other providerssuch as fees for consulting and participation in advisory boards and preceptorships that included travel to luxury resortsto lure them into buying the companys drugs. The alleged wrongdoing also includes off-label marketing of the anti-psychotic drug Abilify and reporting inflated prices on a wide assortment of oncology and generic drug products intended to jack up federal reimbursement rates as a perk for prescribers.
Finally, the government claimed that in the company's report to the Medicaid Drug Rebate program, Bristol-Myers Squibb omitted a bargain price for its private-label version of anti-depression drug Serzone sold to Kaiser Permanente, in effect denying Medicaid the benefit of the best price. -- by Gregg Blesch
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