Bristol-Myers Squibb Settles DOJ's Plavix Investigation

Bristol-Myers Squibb said it will pay up to $1 million to settle a criminal probe of a failed deal that would have delayed generic sales of blockbuster drug Plavix.

The New York-based drugmaker said it will plead guilty to two counts of making false statements to a government agency in connection with its proposed settlement with Canadian drugmaker Apotex.

Bristol and European marketing partner Sanofi-Aventis had reached an initial settlement with Apotex in March 2006 to delay generic Plavix sales, but state officials nixed the deal a few months later.

The company forced out Peter Dolan as chief executive last September on a federal monitor's recommendation.

Bristol said the pending settlement is not likely to affect its participation in federal health care programs.

Plavix, a blood-thinner used to treat hypertension, is the company's top-selling drug, with U.S. sales of $2.7 billion in 2006.