Pharma tops off DoJ settlement ranking

These days, drugmakers are all too familiar with the False Claims Act, which rewards whistleblowers who sue their companies for misbehavior. The law has reaped many off-label marketing settlements with pharma companies.

In fact, pharma is the star of the False Claims Act show, according to Taxpayers Against Fraud, a non-profit public interest organization that tracked settlements under that law over the past year. Of the 10 biggest Department of Justice settlements during fiscal 2010, eight of them involved drugmakers.

Now, these latest settlements aren't nearly so dramatic as last year's $2.3 billion Pfizer deal or even Eli Lilly's $1.4 billion Zyprexa settlement. The top of the list belongs to a $600 million settlement with Allergan, which resolved claims that the drugmaker promoted its wrinkle drug Botox for off-label use.

AstraZeneca comes in second with a $520 million deal to settle Seroquel marketing accusations. And third-place Novartis agreed to pay $422.5 million to resolve a suit over off-label marketing of epilepsy drugs. Forest Laboratories ($313 million) and Elan ($203.5 million) round out the top five. Check out the list for the rest.

- see the list from Taxpayers Against Fraud 
- get more from Pharmalot

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