Drug maker to pay $38 million to settle kickback claims involving Alzheimer's drug

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A New York-based pharmaceutical company will pay $38 million to settle allegations that it paid kickbacks to doctors to prescribe medications, including the Alzheimer's drug Namenda, the Department of Justice announced on Thursday.

Forest Laboratories LLC and its subsidiary, Forest Pharmaceuticals Inc., allegedly provided payments and meals to physicians as part of speaker programs on Namenda, fibromyalgia drug Savella and blood pressure drug Bystolic. The payments and meals were still provided even if the speaker programs were canceled, no healthcare professionals were in attendance, or when the cost of the meals exceeded the company's internal limitations, the DOJ said.

The claims were brought by a former Forest employee, who will receive $7.8 million from the settlement.

“Kickback schemes undermine the integrity of medical decisions and increase the costs of healthcare for everyone,” said Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General Benjamin C. Mizer in the DOJ's announcement. “Such schemes are particularly of concern when they are designed to influence drug prescriptions, and the Department of Justice will vigorously pursue companies that subvert the law at the public's expense.”