Novo Nordisk, a Danish pharmaceutical company, recently agreed to settle a U.S. investigation of its marketing of diabetes drugs, which included illegally hiring certified diabetes educators to act as salespeople and paying kickbacks to doctors for prescribing its drugs.
The U.S. Justice Department began the investigation in 2011, focusing on claims on illegal marketing of Novo Nordisk's top-selling diabetes drug, Victoza.
The lawsuit was filed by two whistleblowers who alleged that Novo had violated U.S. law by persuading doctors to write prescriptions for Victoza that were covered by federal health-insurance programs.
The claims were disclosed when the whistleblower lawsuit was unsealed by a judge.
U.S.-based spokesman for Novo, Ken Inchausti, released an email statement on Friday stating, "We've reached an agreement in principle to settle certain claims related to this investigation, and the unsealing is a part of that process. The process is not finalized, and as such we can't provide further comment on this matter at this time."
Out of Novo's $16.3 billion revenue in 2016, almost 80 percent stemmed from diabetes treatments. In the past five years, drug sales have increased more than 75 percent.
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