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British Drugmaker Pleads Guilty In Largest Health Care Fraud Settlement In US History

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(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

(Photo by Jeff J Mitchell/Getty Images)

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BOSTON (AP) — An agreement by British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline to pay $3 billion for criminal and civil violations involving 10 drugs that are taken by millions of people has been approved by a federal judge.

The company on Thursday in U.S. District Court in Boston pleaded guilty to promoting popular antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin for unapproved uses. The company also pleaded guilty to failing to report to the government some safety problems with diabetes drug Avandia, which was restricted in the U.S. and banned in Europe after it was found in 2007 to sharply increase the risks of heart attacks and congestive heart failure.

It is the largest health care fraud settlement in U.S. history.

Lawyers for the company and federal officials declined comment after Thursday’s hearing.

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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