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Amgen Expected to Plead Guilty to Charges, U.S. Says

Dec. 18 (Bloomberg) -- Amgen Inc., the world’s largest biotechnology company, is expected to plead guilty today to federal charges, U.S. prosecutors said.

The company, based in Thousand Oaks, California, is scheduled to enter the plea in Brooklyn, New York, according to a notice yesterday from prosecutors. The charges against the company weren’t specified in the statement.

Robert Nardoza, a spokesman for Brooklyn U.S. Attorney Loretta Lynch, declined to provide further details. Ashleigh Koss, a spokeswoman for Amgen, didn’t immediately return a call yesterday seeking comment on the case.

Last month, the company disclosed in a filing with the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission that it expected to pay $806 million to settle federal civil and criminal investigations related to its sales and marketing practices that are pending in the states of Washington and New York.

The company announced in October 2011 that it took a $780 million charge to cover the costs of settling civil and criminal probes into whether it engaged in improper sales of drugs, including its Aranesp anemia medication. At least 15 states have sued the company and alleged that it encouraged doctors to overbill third-party payers, including Medicaid, for Aranesp prescriptions.

The case is U.S. v. Amgen Inc., 1:12-cr-00760, U.S. District Court, Eastern District of New York (Brooklyn).

To contact the reporter on this story: Christie Smythe in New York at csmythe1@bloomberg.net

To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net

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