A record $600,000 federal fine has been levied against Upjohn Co. for alleged bookkeeping violations in its distribution of free drug samples to doctors, federal prosecutors said.
An additional fine of $500,000 was suspended provided Upjohn meets federal record-keeping requirements for drug samples, Assistant U.S. Attorney Riley J. Atkins said Tuesday.Atkins said the fine against Upjohn is the largest ever under the 1971 federal Controlled Substances Act.
He said U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration investigators documented record-keeping problems involving samples of the popular drugs Xanax and Halcion in Oregon, Florida, Ohio, Michigan and Puerto Rico.
Xanax is prescribed for anxiety. Halcion is a sleep medication.
In agreeing to consent decrees in each of the judicial districts, Upjohn admitted no wrongdoing.
Atkins said investigators found no evidence that Xanax or Halcion went to anyone other than doctors authorized to receive samples. But he said company records included invalid or incorrect DEA registration numbers for the recipients.
Under the consent decree, the pharmaceutical giant's sales people no longer will carry samples of controlled substances to pass out to doctors. Salespeople instead will take written orders for free samples from doctors.