The U. S. Department of Justice recovered $3 billion for American taxpayers as a result of civil lawsuits brought after whistleblowers came forward to report on pharmaceutical companies' illegal activities. The payout is the largest health fraud settlement in U.S. history. Drug maker Pfizer pled guilty to felony violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and was fined $2.3 billion (that's "billion" with a "b") for aggressively marketing its painkiller Bextra far beyond uses approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Bextra was pulled from the market in 2005 due to safety risks. AstraZeneca paid $302 million for cajoling doctors into writing prescriptions for unapproved uses of its anti-psychotic drug Seroquel, including urging doctors to use it for treatment of insomnia, anger management and post-traumatic stress disorder. AstraZeneca also paid kickbacks to doctors as part of the illegal scheme to market the Seroquel for unapproved uses. The government also recouped $192 million from Novartis and $108 million from the Health Alliance of Greater Cincinnati and its former member-hospital, The Christ Hospital, for misconduct under the health care Anti-Kickback Statute.
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