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Bard to pay $51M to resolve kickback investigation

NEW YORK (AP) -- The Department of Justice said that medical device maker CR Bard Inc. will pay nearly $51 million to resolve allegations that it paid kickbacks to customers and physicians to convince them to use its radiation therapy seeds.

The government said Bard paid "illegal remuneration and kickbacks" to customers and physicians to get them to buy its brachytherapy seeds, which are used in prostate cancer treatment. The agency said Monday that Bard will pay $48.3 million to resolve allegations that its actions resulted in false claims made to Medicare, and the company will pay another $2.2 million as part of a non-prosecution agreement.

The agency says the kickbacks were paid between 1998 and 2006. Bard said it received a subpoena from the Department of Health and Human Services in November 2006, and it reached a preliminary agreement with the government on the settlement in January 2012. After that the Murray Hill, N.J., company set aside $51 million to cover the proposed settlement.

Brachytherapy seeds are implanted radioactive metal pellets that kill cancer cells.

The investigation began as a whistleblower lawsuit, and a former Bard manager will get $10.1 million as part of the settlement.

Bard announced the settlement Friday in a form filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission. Its shares rose $1.62 to $106.62 in Tuesday trading.