Drug maker pays $360 million to settle investigation into charity kickbacks

Federal prosecutors announced Thursday that Actelion Pharmaceuticals has agreed to a $360 million settlement stemming from an investigation into whether the company illegally funneled kickbacks through a patient-assistance charity.

Federal prosecutors announced Thursday that Actelion Pharmaceuticals has agreed to a $360 million settlement stemming from an investigation into whether the company illegally funneled kickbacks through a patient-assistance charity. Actelion, which was acquired by Johnson & Johnson in 2017, manufactures expensive drugs to treat a rare lung condition. It is the latest pharmaceutical company to settle federal inquiries into its ties to patient-assistance groups. "Pharmaceutical companies cannot have it both ways—they cannot continue to increase drug prices while engaging in conduct designed to defeat the mechanisms that Congress designed to check such prices and then expect Medicare to pay for the ballooning costs," said Joseph Hunt, an assistant attorney general for the Justice Department. In 2014 and 2015, prosecutors said, Actelion raised the price of its main drug, bosentan (Tracleer), by nearly 30 times the rate of inflation. Actelion admitted no wrongdoing in its settlement. Johnson & Johnson was not implicated in the allegations since the activity under scrutiny took place before Actelion was acquired.