(CN) – Two Johnson & Johnson subsidiaries agreed to pay $81 million to settle criminal and civil charges of illegally promoting the epilepsy drug Topamax, federal prosecutors said.
Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical promoted Topamax through its “Doctor for a Day” program, in which it paid outside physicians to join sales reps in office visits and meetings to promote the drug for off-label uses.
Doctors can prescribe drugs for off-label, or unapproved, uses, but drug companies can’t promote the drugs for that.
Ortho-McNeil Janssen Pharmaceutical will pay $75.4 million to settle civil charges under the False Claims Act.
Ortho-McNeil Pharmaceutical will pay a $6.1 million criminal fine, for a misdemeanor.
Whistleblowers who filed the cases in Boston will get $9 million from the federal government’s share of the recovery.