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http://www.npr.org/blogs/health/2010/04/jj_settles_charges_over_market.html?ft=1&f=1001Scott Hensley said:Another day, another big settlement by a drugmaker that the government alleges has illegally promoted a medicine for uses the Food and Drug Administration hadn't approved.
This time it's Johnson & Johnson, the baby powder company, which agreed to pay $81 million to settle claims it marketed the epilepsy drug Topamax for unapproved psychiatric uses, the Justice Department said.
A Virginia psychiatrist filed a whistleblower lawsuit that helped the government make its case. His suit alleged that J&J promoted the drug for the unapproved treatment of conditions ranging from alcohol dependence to weight loss. Further, the suit alleges the company paid kickbacks to doctors.
The company pleaded guilty to a single criminal count and will pay a $6 million criminal fine. The balance of the money will resolve civil claims that the company's marketing of the drug led Medicare, Medicaid and other government health programs to pay for Topamax when it shouldn't have been used in the first place.