29 May 2013, BioSpectrum Bureau , BioSpectrum
Singapore: US-based Ista Pharmaceuticals will pay $33.5 million to settle criminal and civil liability, after the company pleaded guilty to charges that it used kickbacks and improper marketing procedures to promote it's eye drug Xibrom for uappproved uses like after glaucoma or Lasik surgeries.
The probe into Ista's practices involved the company's condition from January 2006 to March 2011, long before it was acquired by Bausch & Lomb in June 2012.
Ista will pay a $16.63 million fine and a $1.85 million forfeiture in the criminal settlement, and another $15 million civil settlement to resolve allegations that it made false claims with government health care programs.
After being acquired last year by Bausch & Lomb, the company admitted to using kickbacks to entice physicians to prescribe the anti-inflammatory drug Xibrom, which the US FDA approved for use after cataract surgery.
The civil suit was filed by whistleblower Mr Keith Schenker, who was an Ista sales representative in Brooklyn and Queens, US. Filed under the False Claims Act, Mr Schenker sued on behalf of the US government and shared in recoveries. He is set to receive $2.5 million of the settlement.