Bristol-Myers Squibb has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $1 million criminal fine for lying to the government about a patent deal on its blood-thinning drug Plavix, officials said Wednesday.
The Justice Department said in a statement that the company’s actions had threatened to reduce competition for the drug, one of the best-selling prescription medications worldwide.
Government investigators said that a former senior Bristol-Myers executive had made “oral representations” to a Canadian generic drug maker, Apotex, that caused Apotex to conclude that Bristol-Myers would not introduce its own generic version of Plavix.
At the time, the two companies were locked in litigation over the validity of the patent for Plavix. Bristol-Myers, however, was subject to a consent decree that required it to submit any patent settlements for review with the Federal Trade Commission.
The government said that Bristol-Myers had also lied to the government about the arrangement. The government inquiry is still open.
The patent deal’s failure led to the ouster of Bristol-Myers’s chief executive, Peter R. Dolan, in September.
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