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After a decade of legal squabbling, Biogen has agreed in principle to pay $900 million to settle a lawsuit filed by a former employee who alleged the company paid kickbacks to hundreds of physicians to boost sales of its multiple sclerosis drugs.

The settlement ends a long-running battle that began in 2012, when a former Biogen sales manager named Michael Bawduniak filed a whistleblower lawsuit claiming the company ran thousands of speaker and consulting programs that were not educational sessions, but actually blatant marketing tools. As a result, he alleged, the drugmaker caused Medicaid to overpay for the medicines.


Speaker programs have been a controversial practice in the pharmaceutical industry for years. In some cases brought by federal authorities, prosecutors have alleged the programs are sometimes nothing more than social events, where large honorariums may be paid in the form of kickbacks to speakers and attendees in order to induce them to prescribe different drugs.

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