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US sues Novartis in NY again, cites doc kickbacks

(AP) US sues Novartis in NY again, cites doc kickbacks
NEW YORK
The U.S. government has sued Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corp. in New York again, saying it paid kickbacks to doctors to steer patients toward its drugs.

The lawsuit was filed Friday in federal court in Manhattan. It comes two days after the government brought a similar lawsuit against Novartis, which is based in East Hanover, N.J. The first lawsuit said the company paid kickbacks to pharmacies to switch kidney transplant patients from competitors' drugs to its own.

Novartis says it disputes the claims in both lawsuits and looks forward to presenting the facts in court. It says discounts and rebates by pharmaceutical companies are a customary, appropriate and legal practice. And it defends promotional programs designed to inform physicians about the appropriate use of its medicines.

The government is seeking unspecified damages and civil penalties.

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