Biovail drug launch draws feds' scrutiny

Apparently, it's a grand jury kind of day. Biovail says it's the target of a U.S. federal grand jury investigation into its launch of Cardizem LA, a blood pressure med. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston is interested in sales and marketing tactics associated with the launch, the company said, warning that it could face civil or criminal charges.

At issue, the company says, is a program called P.L.A.C.E )Proving LA through Clinical Experience). The Wall Street Journal reported in 2003 that Biovail paid as much as $1,000 each to thousands of docs who wrote scrips, and even handed over as much as $150 to office managers. The company said at the time that the payments were intended to "generate physician survey data."

- read the report form the Canadian Press
- see the Houston Chronicle article
- check out the background in the WSJ Health Blog