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Biogen (BIIB) has agreed to pay $22 million to resolve allegations that donations it paid to charities were actually kickbacks to Medicare patients used to cover out-of-pockets costs for its multiple sclerosis medicines.

This is only the latest instance in which federal authorities have cracked down on such arrangements between drug makers and patient assistance charities. Over the past three years, some of the biggest names in the pharmaceutical industry – including Gilead Sciences (GILD), Pfizer (PFE), Amgen (AMGN), a Johnson & Johnson (JNJ) unit, Sanofi (SNY), and Novartis (NVS) – have reached similar agreements, as have several charities.

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