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After a year-long battle, a federal judge ordered Novartis to turn over to the Department Justice documents containing details of allegedly 79,200 “sham” speaking events the drug maker used to encourage doctors to prescribe several blood pressure medicines.

The decision stems from a whistleblower lawsuit, which was initially filed six years ago by a former Novartis sales rep, contending the drug maker violated federal anti-kickback laws for nearly a decade. The Justice Department later joined the lawsuit, which alleged Novartis paid bribes to boost prescriptions and, as a result, caused federal health care programs to overpay for medicines.


The Justice Department initially received documents from the company about the speaking events, doctors who spoke at or attended the events, and the effect these events had on sales and market share on several blood pressure medicines. The Justice Department last year sought more information about event budgets and incentives that Novartis sales reps received for arranging the events.

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