Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Teva and The Reinstein Connection

The U.S. business of Teva Pharmaceuticals Industries Ltd. and a subsidiary have agreed to pay $27.6 million to settle allegations of improper payments, the Justice Department said Tuesday.

Teva unit Ivax LLC in 2003 allegedly paid a doctor in Illinois to switch his patients to a generic antipsychotic medication the business produced, according to the Justice Department.

Teva, an Israeli company specializing in generic drugs, acquired Ivax for more than $7 billion in early 2006.

The physician, Michael J. Reinstein, received payments, as well as a Miami vacation for his family and several employees, under an illegal consulting agreement with Ivax, the department said.

"Pharmaceutical companies must not be allowed to improperly influence physicians' decisions in prescribing medication for their patients," said Attorney Zachary T. Fardon, U.S. attorney for the Northern District of Illinois.

A Teva representative confirmed the settlement, noting that the company "did not admit liability in this case, and was pleased to bring resolution to this situation."

The drug in question, generic clozapine, is considered a drug of last resort, particularly for elderly patients, and has the potential for several serious side effects, such as seizures, inflammation of the heart and decreases in white blood cells, according to the Justice Department.

Dr. Reinstein eventually became the biggest prescriber of the drug, including for a number of elderly patients, prosecutors said.

The doctor is also facing a pending civil action in Illinois federal court.

Write to Michael Calia at michael.calia@wsj.com

Read more: http://www.nasdaq.com/article/teva-to-pay-276-million-to-settle-improper-payment-allegations-20140311-00814#ixzz2vflkAEIH

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