DOJ: Bristol-Myers Squibb pleads guilty to lying about Plavix deal

Bristol-Myers Squibb has been charged with lying to the US government about a failed patent agreement between the company, sanofi-aventis and Apotex over Plavix, the US Department of Justice announced Wednesday. Bristol-Myers Squibb, which has also been charged with taking steps to conceal its false statement, has agreed to plead guilty and pay a $1-million criminal fine.

The government agency noted that Bristol-Myers Squibb's actions "threatened to reduce competition for [Plavix] that could have reduced the cost of blood-thinning drugs sold to heart attack, stroke and other patients." The DOJ added that "the seriousness of the offences is compounded by the fact that Bristol-Myers Squibb's obstructive conduct occurred in connection with the Federal Trade Commission's review of a proposed patent settlement affecting the cost of [Plavix]."

On May 10, Bristol-Myers Squibb revealed that it reached an agreement in principle with the DOJ to settle the agency's criminal probe and plead guilty to two counts of making false statements. The drugmaker noted that "the filing of the information by [the DOJ] with the Court is the next procedural step in completing our previously announced agreement to resolve the federal antitrust investigation." The company added that "there are no new facts or issues."

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