Cephalon to pay $425M settlement

The case of the pain-reliever lollipop is wrapped. Cephalon has agreed to pay $425 million to settle government investigations into its marketing practices. The Pennsylvania-based drug maker had been accused of aggressively marketing several drugs--including the wakefulness drug Provigil and the pain reliever Actiq--for off-label uses. Cephalon also will plead guilty to a misdemeanor violation of the U.S. Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act, and it will sign promises to the Inspector General and Department of Health and Human Services to play fair and square.

The agreement doesn't cover an investigation by Connecticut's attorney general, which stemmed from the 2003 death of a woman who'd been using Actiq, a berry-flavored narcotic on a stick. And the deal paves the way for more litigation. "What happens routinely to every company involved in these kinds of settlements is that state, local, private litigation ensues," CEO Frank Baldino said. "But that's not going to affect our business today, and will not affect our business going forward."

- see the release from Cephalon
- read the Philadelphia Inquirer report