Bristol-Myers Squibb announces agreement to settle federal investigation

Bristol-Myers Squibb offered to pay a $499 million to settle to several federal investigatons into questionable drug pricing and marketing practices involving a number of its prescription drugs. The company said today it has entered an agreement in principle with the US Department of Justice and the US Attorney in Massachusetts to pay the settlement and avoid civil and criminal charges. Bristol-Myers will also enter a corporate integrity agreement with the Office of Inspector General (OIG) of the Department of Health and Human Services. The agreement must still get final approval from the Justice Department. Today’s announced agreement is just the latest in several deals Bristol-Myers Squibb has cut with the government in recent years. In June 2005, the company paid $800 million to settle federal charges involving company accounting prcaitces and was placed under observation of a federal monitor until 2007. That same monitor recommended in September that the company fire CEO Peter Dolan after a failed agreement to keep a lower-priced generic version of the blockbuster blood thinner Plavix off the market had attracted the interest of federal investigators. Dolan stepped down the next day.