DOJ charity probe claims another as Lundbeck inks $52.6M settlement with feds

Shortly after Pfizer reached a deal to put a copay assistance charity investigation to rest, the Justice Department has reached another tentative settlement with Lundbeck.

On Wednesday, the neuroscience-focused company disclosed an "agreement in principle" with the U.S. Department of Justice. Under the deal, it'll pay $52.6 million to resolve an investigation about its relationship with and donations to patient assistance charities, admitting no fault. The Danish drugmaker noted that the deal is subject to further negotiation. 

Lundbeck is among a group of industry players under investigation for contributions to patient assistance charities. Pharma companies can donate to the groups under the condition that the charities remain independent. In their investigation, authorities seek to determine whether industry contributions are a "conduit" to help boost drug sales. 

Pfizer became the latest drugmaker to settle on the issue last month, agreeing to fork over $23.8 million to resolve an investigation. The company admitted no wrongdoing. 

RELATED: Pfizer inks $23.8M deal to settle Justice Department's charity kickback probe 

In its latest annual report (PDF), Lundbeck disclosed that the U.S. Attorney's Office in Boston subpoenaed the company in May 2016 as part of an investigation into charity groups and marketing practices. Other companies involved in the probe include Johnson & Johnson, Astellas, Gilead Sciences, Celgene and Biogen. Jazz Pharmaceuticals reached a tentative agreement in April worth $57 million, according to a recent securities filing.

United Therapeutics late last year agreed to a $210 million deal with U.S. authorities to resolve its own probe.

Authorities are also looking into at least one big charity. Last year, the IRS started investigating Good Days, formerly known as the Chronic Disease Fund, to see whether the group is acting as a “conduit” for the drug industry to boost sales.