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J&J pleads guilty in Natrecor marketing case

(Reuters) - Johnson and Johnson has agreed to pay $85 million and plead guilty to U.S. government charges that it marketed heart drug Natrecor for unapproved uses, according to court documents.

J&J's Scios unit was charged in July with misbranding Natrecor because the drug's labeling lacked adequate directions for its use. Natrecor is approved for treatment of certain patients with congestive heart failure.

Scios also agreed to a three-year probation period, according to a filing in U.S. District Court, Northern District of California.

The plea deal follows J&J's agreement in April to pay $78 million to settle U.S. and UK charges that it paid bribes and kickbacks to win business overseas.

The drugmaker declined to comment beyond saying in a statement that the U.S. Department of Justice charged Scios with a single misdemeanor violation of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act.

The plea agreement needs to be approved by the court. A hearing is scheduled for September 28.

(Reporting by Deena Beasley; Editing by Tim Dobbyn)

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