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Novartis pays $678 million to settle case over alleged kickbacks to doctors

Novartis pays $678 million to settle case over alleged kickbacks to doctors



After seven years of sparring, Novartis (NVS) has agreed to pay $678 million to settle a lawsuit in which the federal government alleged the drug maker used kickbacks to doctors — including fishing trips and lavish restaurant meals — in order to boost prescriptions of several medicines.

The settlement ends a long-running battle that began in 2011, when a former Novartis sales rep named Oswald Bilotta filed a whistleblower lawsuit claiming the company ran so-called speaker programs that were actually blatant marketing tools, rather than educational sessions for doctors. And as a result of the bribes, the drug maker caused federal health care programs to overpay for medicines.

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