Par Pharmaceutical Companies Inc., headquartered in Woodcliff Lake, pleaded guilty in federal court today for the illegal promotion of its prescription drug Megace ES.

U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Paul Fishman said Par made substantial efforts to promote the drug for uses that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

U.S. Attorney for New Jersey Paul Fishman announces the misbranding of Megace ES by Par Pharmaceutical, headquartered in Woodcliff Lake (Townsquare Media)

"Par also directed its sales force to make claims about Megace ES that were simply untrue," he added.

With today's plea, Par agreed to pay $45 million to resolve criminal and civil investigations.

The drug had been approved by the FDA to treat anorexia, cachexia and other significant weight loss suffered by AIDS patients. However, Par's marketing strategy revolved around the drug's use for non-AIDS-related geriatric wasting. Par earned millions of dollars by wrongfully promoting Megace ES.

"Combatting health care fraud is a top priority of the Department of Justice," said Fishman. "We, all of us, depend on manufacturers of drugs to play by the rules."