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$203M fine for Health Care Fraud



The settlement resolves a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by a Massachusetts physician. The law allows citizens with knowledge of fraud to file civil actions on behalf of the United States and share in any recovery.

Irish pharmaceutical manufacturer Elan Corporation PLC and its U.S. subsidiary have agreed to pay more than $203 million for alleged illegal promotion of the epilepsy drug Zonegran,

The department said Japanese drug marketer Eisai Inc., which bought the drug from Elan, will pay $11 million for so-called off-label marketing of Zonegran.

Elan has agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor for allegedly promoting Zonegran for a wide variety of improper uses, including mood stabilization, migraine headaches, eating disorders and weight loss.

Elan will pay a criminal fine of $97 million, will pay $102.3 million to resolve civil allegations and will forfeit $3.6 million in assets.

The settlement is part of the government's emphasis on combating health care fraud. The Justice Department's total recoveries in False Claims Act cases since January 2009 have topped $6 billion.