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Merck agreed to pay $671 million to settle allegations it overcharged the Medicaid program and gave doctors junkets, dinners and other inducements to promote three of its drugs. From 1997 to 2001, prosecutors said Merck had about 15 different programs used by its sales representatives to give doctors and other health professionals "illegal kickbacks," disguised as fees for training or consultation, to induce them to prescribe Merck drugs. Merck said the settlements do not constitute an admission of any liability or wrongdoing.