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The AIDS Healthcare Foundation, the nation's largest provider of HIV health care services, and former employees of pharmaceutical firm Serono are fighting over how to divide a portion of a $725 million settlement Serono recently paid to the Justice Department over illegal marketing practices on its HIV wasting drug Serostim, The Wall Street Journal reports. Several former employees filed complaints against the company's practices in 2001, and the AHF filed a lawsuit against the company in 2003 and moved to block Medicaid reimbursements to Serono for doses of the drug prescribed at its clinics. Serono agreed to the financial settlement in April after four of its employees were found to have bribed doctors to prescribe the medication, which can cost up to $6,000 for a one-month regimen.
The share of the $725 million settlement that will go to the former employees because of their roles as whistle-blowers in the case is expected to be between $70 million and $80 million, and the AHF wants at least $1 million and up to $3 million of that share. The former employees offered $500,000 to the AHF, but the agency rejected that offer. After settlement negotiations between the former employees and the AHF broke down, some of the former employees in late July filed a court motion to dismiss the AHF's claims. The motion is pending in U.S. district court in Boston.