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TAP Pharmaceutical Products Inc. has agreed to pay $150 million to resolve civil lawsuits about the marketing and pricing of its drug Lupron, pushing the company’s total payouts for the prostate cancer drug to more than $1 billion. In 2001, the Lake Forest, Ill.-based company pleaded guilty to conspiring to violate the Prescription Drug Marketing Act by causing the sale of drug samples. TAP entered its guilty plea as a part of an overall global settlement that required TAP to pay $875 million to resolve criminal charges and civil liabilities in connection with its drug pricing and marketing conduct for Lupron. The recent cases, which were consolidated over the past three years, accused TAP of selling Lupron to physicians at steeply discounted prices, guaranteeing doctors large profits on prescriptions. The agreement reached last week will resolve cases brought by attorneys for patients and private health insurance companies that allege they were bilked out of tens of millions of dollars worth of the drug, TAP spokeswoman Katherine Stueland said Monday. The settlement does not involve any admission of wrongdoing on pricing, sales or marketing practices by TAP and its parent owners, Abbott Laboratories Inc. and Takeda Pharmaceutical Co., Stueland said. “TAP reached this settlement to end a protracted legal battle,” Stueland said. She added that the settlement is “a significant step in the final resolution of all civil litigation involving the pricing, sales and marketing practices of Lupron.” But plaintiffs attorneys said the settlement would send a message to other drug companies. “This should be a sign to other drug manufacturers to not participate in this type of improper practice,” said Jeffrey Kodroff, a Philadelphia plaintiffs attorney who represented patients, health plans and self-insured employers. Most of last week’s settlement will go to private health insurance companies and several Blue Cross and Blue Shield plans, which paid for thousands of claims for Lupron. TAP spent much of the year dealing with criminal cases related to Lupron. Eleven current and former employees of TAP Pharmaceutical Products had charges dropped or were acquitted of charges they offered doctors improper consulting fees, dinners, golf trips and other kickbacks to get them to prescribe certain drugs. Copyright 2004 Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, rewritten, or redistributed.

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