(Adds McKesson comment, paragraphs 5-6)
Aug 8 McKesson Corp agreed to pay $18
million to settle U.S. charges that it violated its contract
with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention by
falsely assuring that it had been shipping vaccines at the
Friday's settlement announced by the U.S. Department of
Justice resolved whistleblower claims against the San
Francisco-based pharmaceutical distributor under the federal
False Claims Act.
The Justice Department accused McKesson of having from April
to November 2007 improperly set monitors designed to detect when
air temperatures inside shipping boxes moved outside a range
considered safe for the vaccines.
It said that by failing to properly set the monitors,
McKesson knowingly submitted false claims to the CDC that it had
complied with its contractual obligations to provide shipping
and handling services.
In a statement, McKesson said it believes the monitors
complied with the contract, and that there was no allegation
that the vaccines were compromised.
McKesson also denied liability, but said it agreed to settle
given the uncertainty of litigation, and in the interest of
maintaining a strong relationship with the CDC.
The case was originally brought in July 2012 by Terrell Fox,
a former finance director at McKesson Specialty Distribution
LLC, and later joined by the federal government. Fox will
receive a portion of the settlement.
(Reporting by Jonathan Stempel in New York; Editing by James