Justice Department to pursue off-label pharma marketing

Allergan plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge and agreed to pay $600 million to settle civil and criminal allegations that the company illegally marketed Botox for off-label uses such as treating headaches and pain.

Allergan plead guilty to a misdemeanor charge and agreed to pay $600 million to settle civil and criminal allegations that the company illegally marketed Botox for off-label uses such as treating headaches and pain.

The Justice Department alleged Allergan held promotional events for doctors, where they were paid $1,500 to listen to off-label marketing presentations in 2005.

Allergan said, as part of the settlement, it would drop a lawsuit it filed in 2009 against the Food and Drug Administration that argued it had a First Amendment right to educate doctors about using Botox safely, including for off-label uses.

After the settlement was announced, a Justice Department official said the government would "aggressively pursue" pharmaceutical companies that illegally market drugs for off-label uses.

What's interesting about the timing of the settlement is that several off-label uses for Botox have since been approved and analysts reported in early August that the FDA would likely approve the drug as a treatment for migraines.

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