Feds probe Cephalon on Provigil, Nuvigil promos

The Justice Department isn't just interested in Cephalon's Treanda operations. It's also looking at the drugmaker's wakefulness meds Nuvigil and Provigil. Cephalon ($CEPH) said the feds issued a subpoena for documents about its marketing of those two drugs, less than a week after disclosing a DoJ subpoena related to the leukemia treatment Treanda. It's the second time Cephalon's Provigil promotions have drawn scrutiny from the federal government.

The company said it's cooperating with both investigations. The latest subpoena "is narrowly focused on a limited number of promotional efforts that were fully vetted in order to ensure compliance," spokeswoman Natalie deVane told Dow Jones. The company has a compliance program directed at keeping its promotional practices in line, and it's operating under a corporate integrity agreement with the federal government.

The latter stemmed from a 2007 off-label marketing settlement with the Justice Department. The company agreed to pay $425 million to settle a probe into its Provigil promotions. The U.S. Attorney's Office in Philadelphia had been probing allegations that Cephalon reps pushed Provigil for unapproved uses, such as depression and ADHD treatment.

Complicating matters for Cephalon is the fact that it's well on its way to becoming part of Teva Pharmaceutical Industries. Teva's $6 billion buyout awaits regulatory approval and has been expected to wrap up this year. Teva's top North American executive told the Philadelphia Inquirer last week that the Treanda subpoena likely wouldn't hold up the deal, and a spokeswoman told Reuters that the latest subpoena won't either. "I don't think there's a Cephalon problem," Teva's Bill Marth told the Inquirer.

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