US Attorney: J&J paid kickbacks to boost sales

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BOSTON (AP) — Federal prosecutors in Boston say health care giant Johnson & Johnson paid tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks so nursing homes would put more patients on its blockbuster schizophrenia drug.

They say J&J paid the kickbacks, in the form of special rebates and other payments, to Omnicare Inc., the country’s biggest company providing pharmacy services to nursing homes. Prosecutors allege Omnicare pharmacists then recommended that nursing home patients with signs of Alzheimer’s disease be put on the powerful schizophrenia drug Risperdal.

The allegation comes in a complaint just filed by the U.S. Attorney in Boston in a whistle-blower case originally brought by a former Omnicare pharmacist.

The office is seeking triple damages and other penalties.