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Biopharmaceutical Company, Cephalon, To Pay $425 Million & Enter Plea to Resolve Allegations of Off-Label Marketing
Date:9/29/2008

WASHINGTON, Sept. 29 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Cephalon Inc. will enter a criminal plea and pay $425 million to resolve claims that it marketed three drugs for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the Justice Department announced today.

The lawsuits were brought by former Cephalon employees and filed under the qui tam provisions of the False Claims Act. The suits alleged that Cephalon engaged in a scheme to market Gabitril, Actiq and Provigil for unapproved uses in violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act, which requires a company to specify the intended uses of a product in its new drug application to the FDA. Once approved, the drug may not be marketed or promoted for so-called "off label" uses -- any use not specified in an application and approved by FDA.

The suits against the company alleged that, as a result of Cephalon's off-label marketing campaign, false claims for payment were submitted to federal insurance programs such as Medicaid and the Federal Employee Health Benefits Program which did not provide coverage for such off-label uses. A criminal information also filed by the Justice Department alleges that, between approximately January 2001 and 2006, Cephalon also promoted the drugs for uses other than what the FDA approved. The company is charged with one count of Distribution of Misbranded Drugs: Inadequate Directions for Use, a misdemeanor offense.

The FDA approved Actiq for use only in opioid-tolerant cancer patients. Between 2001 and 2006, Cephalon allegedly promoted the drug for non-cancer patients to use for such maladies as migraines, sickle-cell pain crises, injuries, and in anticipation of changing wound dressings or radiation therapy. Cephalon also promoted Actiq for use with patients who were not opioid tolerant.

Gabitril was approved by the FDA for use as an anti-epilepsy drug in the treatment of partial seizures. From 2001 to 2005, Cephalon allegedly promoted the drug as a
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
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