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Amgen Inc. settles over drug marketing

Amgen Inc. has agreed to pay $762 million to resolve federal litigation accusing the drugmaker of marketing the anemia treatment Aranesp for unapproved uses.

The Thousand Oaks, Calif., company pleaded guilty Tuesday to illegally introducing a misbranded drug into interstate commerce and will pay a $136 million fine and a $14 million forfeiture, according to the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Eastern District of New York.

It also agreed to a $612 million civil settlement, according to a law firm connected to the case.

But the U.S. attorney’s office declined to comment on that because the civil settlement won’t be unsealed until a court hearing today, when a federal judge also will decide whether to accept the plea and sentence in the criminal case.

Amgen develops biologic medicines, or drugs produced by living cells rather than by mixing chemicals. Aranesp is approved for treating patients with anemia caused by chronic renal failure and chemotherapy.

The Food and Drug Administration approved the drug to be administered once a week or once every two or three weeks, depending on the patient. But prosecutors accused Amgen, among other things, of promoting a once-a-month dose to help Aranesp compete with Johnson & Johnson’s Procrit, which was well-established in the market.

Oracle earnings rise in second quarter

SAN FRANCISCO – Oracle’s latest quarterly earnings rose 18 percent as companies splurged on more software and other technology toward the end of the year.

The results announced Tuesday are an improvement from Oracle’s previous quarter, when the business software maker’s revenue dipped slightly from a year earlier.

The latest quarter spanned September through November. That makes Oracle the first technology bellwether to provide insights into corporate spending since the Nov. 6 re-election of President Barack Obama and negotiations to avoid the so-called “fiscal cliff” began to heat up.

Oracle Corp. said it earned $2.6 billion, or 53 cents per share, in its fiscal second quarter. That compares with net income of $2.2 billion, or 43 cents per share, a year ago.

If not for charges for past acquisitions and certain other costs, Oracle said it would have earned 64 cents per share. On that basis, Oracle topped the average earnings estimate of 61 cents per share among analysts surveyed by FactSet.

Revenue increased 3 percent from last year to $9.1 billion – about $900 million more than analysts had projected.

Nielsen buys Arbitron to measure radio use

NEW YORK – Nielsen, the dominant source of TV ratings, on Tuesday said it had agreed to buy Arbitron for about $1.26 billion to expand into radio measurement.

Arbitron pays 70,000 people to carry around gadgets that register what stations they’re listening to. Since Nielsen also collects cash register data, CEO David Calhoun said buying Arbitron will let Nielsen be a one-stop shop for advertisers who want to know how the radio advertising they buy affects product sales.

The acquisition will let Nielsen expand the amount of media consumption it tracks by about two hours per person per day to seven hours, Calhoun said.

Nielsen Holdings N.V. said it will pay $48 per share, which is a 26 percent premium to Arbitron’s Monday closing price of $38.04. Shares of Arbitron, which is based in Columbia, Md., jumped $8.99, or 23.6 percent, to close at $47.03. Nielsen, which went public in January 2011, has headquarters in the Netherlands and New York.


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