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Pharmaceutical company to pay NC $1.5 million for fraud

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RALEIGH, N.C. -

Endo Pharmaceuticals will pay $1.5 million to North Carolina as part of a settlement to resolve allegations of unlawful marketing, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced Friday in a news release.

"Pushing drugs for unapproved uses means patients get treatments that may not even work and health care dollars get wasted," Cooper said in a statement. "We're going after these illegal marketing tactics to win back taxpayer money."

The funds are part of a $172.9 million dollar settlement with North Carolina, 46 other states, the District of Columbia and the federal government to resolve allegations that Endo engaged in unlawful marketing practices aimed at promoting the drug Lidoderm, the Attorney General's Office said. In addition to the total settlement, Endo will pay a $20.8 million criminal fine to the federal government.

The Attorney General's Office said Endo unlawfully marketed Lidoderm to treat lower back pain or chronic pain between March 1999 and December 2007 even though the Food and Drug Administration had approved the drug only to treat pain associated with shingles. Once the FDA approves a drug as safe and effective, the manufacturer cannot legally market or promote the drug for a different use that is not approved.

North Carolina will receive $1,558,486.86 because Endo's illegal marketing of Lidoderm led to the submission of false and/or fraudulent claims to state health programs, including North Carolina's Medicaid program.

Endo Pharmaceuticals is a subsidiary of Endo Health Solutions, a manufacturer of pharmaceutical products based in Pennsylvania. The lawsuit was filed under the provisions of the federal False Claims Act and related state statutes

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