I bring you the end of a devious saga at Bristol-Myers Squibb
Doctors are allowed to prescribe market-approved drugs for any use they see fit -- it's referred to as off-label use. However, the pharmaceutical companies that make the drugs are prohibited from marketing them for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Apparently, the fact that it was illegal didn't stop Bristol-Myers. On Friday, the company agreed to pay $515 million to resolve state and federal investigations into this practice as well as other shady practices alleged to have occurred when Peter Dolan was CEO and before then -- from 1994 to 2005.
The fact that this has been going on in the industry should come as no surprise. Other culprits that recently agreed to fines for similar dealings include Schering-Plough
Bristol-Myers noted that the settlement wouldn't hinder its business with any customers, including the government. The settlement had little effect on the stock price, and if anything should be viewed as a positive sign now that this mess is out of the way. It might make Fools a little bit more skeptical the next time they pay a visit to their doctor, though.
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Fool contributor Billy Fisher owns shares of Bristol-Myers Squibb. Pfizer is an Inside Value recommendation. The Fool maintains a disclosure policy that has yet to come under the scrutiny of federal investigators.