Novartis to pay $422 million in settlement

    The US Attorney in Philadelphia today announced that four whistleblowers will share $25 million as part of a settlement with the pharmaceutical company.

    By Jen Howard

    The pharmaceutical company Novartis and the US Attorney’s office in Philadelphia filed a settlement today. A big one: Novartis will pay more than $400 million for charges relating to illegal marketing practices.

    The deal is the latest in a string of massive settlements over the last two years related to something called off-label promotion. The US attorney says Novartis mis-marketed the anti-epileptic drug Trileptal – promoting the drug’s prescription for ailments not approved by the FDA, such as neuropathic pain and bipolar disorder.

    Speaking at a press conference this afternoon, US Attorney David Memeger said that such off-label promotions undermine the integrity of the health care system.

    Memeger: Every day in this country, patients rely on sound advice from their doctors to determine what is best for their health conditions. That doctor’s decision should not be influenced or tainted by a pharmaceutical company’s improper conduct.

    Novartis will plead guilty to one misdemeanor violation. In a statement, a spokesperson says that the company is pleased to have this matter behind it.

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