Biopharmaceutical firm pays $7.5M to settle kickback claims

Markets Associated Press

A biopharmaceutical firm will pay more than $7.5 million to resolve claims it paid kickbacks to doctors to persuade them to prescribe its fentanyl-based drug Abstral, federal prosecutors said.

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The settlement with Galena Biopharma was announced Friday.

Prosecutors said the allegations arose from a whistleblower lawsuit. The person who filed the suit will receive more than $1.2 million from the settlement.

The kickbacks included more than 85 free meals to doctors and staff from a "high-prescribing" medical practice and paying various doctors a $5,000 honoraria and speakers $6,000 along with expenses to attend an "advisory board" that was planned and attended by the Galena sales staff, prosecutors said.

"This global, civil-only resolution represents the best possible outcome for Galena, with no exclusion from federal programs and no corporate integrity agreement obligations," Gary Giampetruzzi, a lawyer for the company, said in a statement on Saturday. "Galena is able to move forward with a non-criminal resolution and focus on its mission of developing life-changing hematology and oncology therapeutics."