Merck to Pay $670 Million to Settle Fraud Case

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Pharmaceutical giant Merck has agreed to pay more than $670 million to settle claims it overcharged the government for drugs and bribed doctors to prescribe its drugs. It's one of the biggest health care fraud settlements ever.

RENEE MONTAGNE, host:

NPR's business news starts with a settlement in a healthcare fraud case.

Merck, the pharmaceutical giant, has agreed to pay more than $670 million to settle claims it overcharged the government for drugs and also bribed doctors to prescribe its drugs. It's one of the biggest health care fraud settlements ever.

The case was triggered by a Merck employee who blew the whistle on company practices. The Justice Department says in the 1990s Merck overcharged Medicaid programs in nearly every state and also overcharged federal health insurance programs at agencies like the Veterans Administration.

The company does not admit to wrongdoing.

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