* Biovail enters guilty plea, signs civil agreement
* Case centered on payments for Cardizem drug survey (Adds detail, background)
BOSTON, Sept 14 (Reuters) - A U.S. unit of Canadian drugmaker Biovail Corp BVF.TO has pleaded guilty to conspiracy and kickback charges, ending a case over its Cardizem hypertension drug, the U.S. Justice Department said on Monday.
Prosecutors said Biovail has been sentenced to pay $22.2 million in fines, formalizing an agreement reached last year. It also agreed to pay $2.4 million to settle civil claims. Both involved charges it improperly paid doctors and other prescribers up to $1,000 to recommend Cardizem.
The company was not immediately available for comment. Prosecutors said in a statement the investigation did not implicate Biovail’s current management.
According to prosecutors, employees of a Biovail unit in Bridgewater, N.J. designed a survey to be filled out by medical professionals in connection with use of Cardizem that earned them payments from federal health insurers in excess of the value of the prescribers’ time. (Reporting by Ross Kerber; editing by Richard Chang and Andre Grenon)