Astellas to pay $7.3M in drug-marketing settlement

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NEW YORK (AP) — A unit of Japanese drugmaker Astellas Pharma will pay the U.S. government $7.3 million to resolve claims it illegally marketed its antifungal drug Mycamine for children before that use was approved.

The U.S. Department of Justice says Astellas' illegal marketing took place between 2005 and 2010. Mycamine was approved for use in adults at the time, but the Food and Drug Administration did not approve its use in children until 2013. Astellas says it has consistently denied the accusation of illegal marketing and is glad to resolve the dispute.

Mycamine is an injection used to prevent and treat fungal infections.

The Justice Department says the federal government will receive $4.2 million from the settlement. Another $3.1 million will go to state Medicaid programs. Medicaid did not cover Mycamine for children because the FDA had not yet approved that use.

The investigation began as a whistleblower lawsuit brought by a former Astellas sales representative, and he will receive about $709,000.

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