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Drugmaker Boehringer settles marketing claim for $95 million: U.S.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc agreed to pay $95 million to U.S. government agencies to settle civil allegations that it illegally marketed drugs for unapproved uses, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.

Privately held Boehringer, which is based in Germany and has U.S. headquarters in Connecticut, promoted four drugs improperly, the department said in a news release.

The department cited the company's statement, for example, that Aggrenox could be used to treat certain heart conditions, even though the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved the drug to prevent secondary strokes. The company also claimed without evidence that Aggrenox was superior to Plavix, made by rival Bristol-Myers Squibb Co, the department said.

In a statement, Boehringer said it "decided to resolve this matter in order to avoid the time and expense of continuing litigation. The settlement is ...not an admission of liability by the company."

The other drugs involved were the chronic obstructive pulmonary disease drugs Atrovent and Combivent, and the hypertension drug Micardis.

The settlement ends a claim brought by a whistleblower in U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland.

(Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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