Amgen pleads guilty to misbranding charges, will pay $762 mln

NEW YORK Tue Dec 18, 2012 11:02am EST

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NEW YORK Dec 18 (Reuters) - Amgen Inc pleaded guilty in a federal court in New York on Tuesday to misbranding its Aranesp anemia drug and agreed to pay $762 million in a civil settlement and criminal fines.

The company, the largest in the global biotechnology sector, had already set aside funds it expected to have to pay as a result of federal and state investigations as well as nearly a dozen civil whistleblower lawsuits.

Federal prosecutors said in court that the company was paying a $612 million civil settlement, a $14 million forfeiture, and a $136 million criminal fine.

Amgen entered the guilty plea, but no sentence has been issued.

Aranesp is one of Amgen's largest drugs and had sales of $2.3 billion in 2011.

A spokeswoman for the company, based in Thousand Oaks, California, declined to give an immediate comment.

(Writing by Caroline Humer; Editing by Lisa Von Ahn)

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