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Pharmaceutical Co. to pay Illinois $140,000 for false claims

A San Diego-based pharmaceutical company will pay Illinois $140,000 for false claims, as part of a larger settlement that resolves allegations that the company paid kickbacks to doctors to get them to prescribe the company’s products.

Victory Pharma Inc. will have to pay a total of $11.4 million to resolve federal civil and criminal liability arising from its marketing of the pharmaceutical products Naprelan, Xodol, Fexmid and Dolgic, according to the U.S. Justice Department.

The lawsuit alleged that Victory schemed to promote its drugs by paying kickbacks to doctors to induce them to write prescriptions for Victory’s products, including prescriptions for patients covered by Medicare and other federal health insurance programs.

Kickbacks included tickets to professional and collegiate sporting events, tickets to concerts and plays, dinners at expensive restaurants and spa, golf and ski outings, according to the Justice Department.

Shionogi Inc., the U.S.-based unit of Japan’s Shionogi & Co. that acquired all of Victory Pharma’s marketed products, could not be reached for a comment.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan announced Monday that Illinois is one of the 45 states on the lawsuit. But her office does not yet have specific information on how many Illinois Medicaid patients may have been affected by the alleged scheme.

The allegations were part of a whistle-blower lawsuit filed in federal court in San Diego.

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