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After nearly two decades of litigation, Bayer agreed to pay $40 million to settle a pair of whistleblower lawsuits that accused the company of paying kickbacks to doctors and hospitals, as well as marketing two medicines for unapproved uses and downplaying safety risks of two other drugs.

One lawsuit alleged that the company deliberately downplayed risks and overstated benefits of Trasylol, which is used to control bleeding in certain heart surgeries. To motivate prescribing, Bayer illegally paid kickbacks to physicians, according to the lawsuit filed in 2005 by a former Bayer marketing employee (see here and here). As a result, Medicare and Medicaid overpaid for the medicine.


The lawsuit also alleged Bayer paid physicians speaking and consulting fees to prescribe an antibiotic known as Avelox. A second lawsuit filed in 2006 by the same employee accused Bayer of downplaying the risks of the Baycol cholesterol pill, leading the U.S. Defense Logistics Agency to renew contracts for the drug. Both Trasylol and Baycol were later withdrawn from the market for safety reasons.

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