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U.S. Accuses J&J of Kickback Scheme

January 19, 2010
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According to Reuters, the Justice Department is accusing Johnson & Johnson paying tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks to Omnicare Inc to buy and recommend J&J drugs. The alleged kickbacks, dating from 1999 through 2004, included providing pharmacy services company Omnicare with increased rebates in exchange for more prescriptions of J&J drugs as well as payments for data that was never furnished, the Justice Department said. J&J also made other payments, called "grants" and "educational funding," that were meant to persuade Omnicare to recommend the company''s medicines, the government said. "Kickbacks such as those alleged here distort the judgments of health care professionals and put profits ahead of sound medical treatment," Tony West, assistant attorney general for the Justice Department''s civil division, said in a statement. Omnicare agreed in November to pay $98 million to settle allegations of soliciting kickbacks from J&J and Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd subsidiary IVAX Pharmaceuticals. As part of that agreement, Omnicare did not admit any wrongdoing. At J&J''s request, Omnicare pharmacists recommended the drug for nursing home patients who had symptoms associated with Alzheimer''s disease and dementia, the complaint said. The complaint also charged two of J&J''s units, Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc and Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems Inc. Since 2001, there have been more than 40 major U.S. criminal and civil resolutions against drug companies related to questionable marketing practices, including kickbacks, according to the federal government.
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