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NEW YORK (AP) - The U.S. subsidiaries of French pharmaceutical giant Sanofi will pay $109 million to settle allegations they gave kickbacks to induce doctors to buy and prescribe Hyalgan, a knee injection.

The Justice Department alleges that Sanofi-Aventis U.S. Inc. and Sanofi-Aventis U.S. LLC violated the False Claims Act by giving doctors thousands of free units of Hyalgan as the drug faced pressure from a lower-priced competitor.

The agency also alleges Sanofi submitted false reports on the average sale price of Hyalgan that excluded the free units, causing Medicare and other federal health care programs to reimburse the company at inflated rates.

In a statement, Sanofi US said it cooperated fully with the government review and "existing financial reserves" will cover the settlement. The Bridgewater, N.J., company said it voluntarily stopped sampling Hyalgan in 2009.


(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
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