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Feds Claim J&J Paid Millions in Kickbacks

WASHINGTON (CN) - Johnson & Johnson and two of its subsidiaries paid millions of dollars in kickbacks to Omnicare, the nation's largest pharmacy that specializes in supplying nursing homes, federal prosecutors said. Johnson & Johnson used Omnicare pharmacists as "an extension of [its] sales force," prosecutors said.

The False Claims Act complaint is related to a $98 million settlement Omnicare reached in November 2009 with the federal government and several states.

Among other things, prosecutors said that Johnson & Johnson "paid Omnicare millions of dollars for 'data,' much of which Omnicare never provided." It also "made various other substantial kickback payments to Omnicare, calling the payments 'grants' and 'educational funding,' even though their true purpose was to induce Omnicare to recommend J&J drugs," the Justice Department said in announcing the complaint, which was filed Friday.

Also sued were J&J subsidiaries Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharmaceuticals, and Johnson & Johnson Health Care Systems.

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