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Calif. Joins Lawsuit Claiming Drug Giant Bribed Doctors To Prescribe Its Drugs

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(credit: AP)

(credit: AP)

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LOS ANGELES (AP) — California has joined a whistleblower lawsuit that claims Bristol-Myers Squibb bribed doctors to prescribe its drugs, costing insurers millions of dollars.

Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones says the state recently joined a 2007 suit filed by three current and former employees.

He says the suit contends that salespeople for the pharmaceutical giant gave doctors speaking fees and expensive meals, gifts and trips in return for prescribing its products.

The suit further claims that the prescription rates were tracked and that doctors who were high prescribers were rewarded while those with lower figures were threatened with the loss of perks.

Jones alleges that at least 15,000 kickbacks were made from 1999-2005 and he says the alleged practice may be continuing.

(© Copyright 2011 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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