Drug company Actelion to pay $360M in kickback probe

A pharmaceutical company has agreed to pay $360 million to resolve allegations that it used a charitable foundation to pay kickbacks to Medicare patients.

The U.S. attorney's office in Boston announced the settlement Thursday with Actelion Pharmaceuticals US Inc., which was acquired last year by health care giant Johnson & Johnson.

Federal prosecutors say South San Francisco-based Actelion illegally used a purportedly independent charity to cover the co-payments of thousands of Medicare patients taking its pulmonary arterial high blood pressure drugs.

Prosecutors say that helped the company convince patients to buy its drugs when the prices it set would have otherwise prevented them from doing so.

Actelion spokeswoman Caroline Pavis says in a statement that the company is committed to complying with all laws and regulations.

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