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Feds fine St. Louis drug maker $3.5 million

Posted: July 18, 2013 2:00 p.m.
Updated: July 18, 2013 2:00 p.m.
 

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — A St. Louis-based drug maker is paying $3.5 million to settle a federal lawsuit that it illegally paid doctors to prescribe out-of-date antidepressants and sleep aids to Medicare and Medicaid patients.

The U.S. Attorney's Office in San Francisco announced the settlement on Thursday. Prosecutors say a former employee of drug maker Mallinckrodt LLC initially filed the lawsuit in 2008. The employee alleged that the company paid doctors consulting fees and other inducements in exchange for prescribing several of Mallinckrodt's drugs.

According to the lawsuit, the drugs were "third rate" treatments that were decades old and would not have typically been prescribed without the financial inducements. The federal government joined the lawsuit because the federally-funded Medicare and Medicaid programs paid for some of the prescriptions.

A call to Mallinckrodt was not immediately returned.

Copyright 2013 The Associated Press.

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