Drug firm will pay $360M over kick­backs

Tampa Bay Times - - Nation & World -

A phar­ma­ceu­ti­cal com­pany has agreed to pay $360 mil­lion to re­solve al­le­ga­tions that it used a char­i­ta­ble foun­da­tion to pay kick­backs to Medi­care pa­tients. The U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice in Bos­ton an­nounced the set­tle­ment Thurs­day with Acte­lion Phar­ma­ceu­ti­cals US Inc., which was ac­quired last year by health care gi­ant John­son & John­son. Fed­eral pros­e­cu­tors said South San Fran­cisco-based Acte­lion il­le­gally used a pur­port­edly in­de­pen­dent char­ity to cover the co­pay­ments of thou­sands of Medi­care pa­tients tak­ing its pul­monary ar­te­rial high blood pres­sure drugs. Pros­e­cu­tors said that helped the com­pany con­vince pa­tients to buy its drugs when the prices it set would have oth­er­wise pre­vented them from do­ing so. The U.S. at­tor­ney’s of­fice said that vi­o­lated the an­ti­kick­back law.

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