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Par to pay $45 million, end US probes over AIDS appetite drug


(Reuters) - Par Pharmaceutical Inc has agreed to pay $45 million to settle federal criminal and civil probes over its marketing and sale of a drug to treat appetite loss in AIDS patients, a spokesman for federal prosecutor Paul Fishman in New Jersey said on Tuesday.

The generic drug company is expected to plead guilty to a criminal misdemeanor charge at a Tuesday hearing before U.S. Magistrate Judge Madeline Cox Arleo in Newark, New Jersey, the spokesman said. Par's payment will be divided equally between a fine and a forfeiture, the spokesman said.

Par, based in Woodcliff Lake, New Jersey, was purchased in September by private equity firm TPG Capital LP for $1.9 billion.

The company has been the subject of a U.S. Department of Justice inquiry into its marketing and sales of the drug Megace ES, which is intended to improve the appetites of HIV and cancer patients.

Tuesday's accord encompasses a civil "whistleblower" lawsuit alleging that Par engaged in illegal off-label marketing of Megace ES, according to Timothy McInnis, who brought that case.

Par did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

On Monday, Par said in a filing in the Washington D.C. federal court that it had been "close to finalizing" a resolution of several pending investigations and litigations.

Last September, the company said it had set aside $45 million as its "best estimate" for a potential global settlement regarding the inquiry.

Fishman is expected to hold a news conference later Tuesday to discuss the Par settlement.

(Reporting by Terry Baynes and Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by Jeffrey Benkoe and John Wallace)


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Information in this article was accurate in March 5, 2013. The state of the art may have changed since the publication date. This material is designed to support, not replace, the relationship that exists between you and your doctor. Always discuss treatment options with a doctor who specializes in treating HIV.