GlaxoSmithKline has agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanour criminal charges and pay $3bn to settle what government officials describe as the largest case of healthcare fraud in US history.
The agreement, which still needs court approval, would resolve allegations that the British drug maker broke US laws in the marketing and development of pharmaceuticals. The terms of the settlement were announced in November.
GSK targeted the antidepressant Paxil at patients under age 18 when it was approved only for adults, and promoted the drug Wellbutrin for uses it was not approved for, including weight loss and treatment of sexual dysfunction, according to a US justice department investigation.
The company went to extreme lengths to promote the drugs, such as distributing a misleading medical journal article and providing doctors with meals and spa treatments that amounted to illegal kickbacks, prosecutors said.