In what has been described as the largest case of health care fraud in U.S. history, British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline Plc. agreed to plead guilty to criminal misdemeanor charges and pay $3 billion. Still awaiting court approval, it would settle allegations that the company broke U.S. laws in marketing and development of pharmaceuticals. GSK’s alleged misconduct includes marketing an antidepressant to patients under age 18 and failing to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration safety data about its diabetes drug Avandia. The settlement agreement “is unprecedented in both size and scope,” said James Cole, the No. 2 official at the U.S. Justice Department. He called the action “historic” and “a clear warning to any company that chooses to break the law.”

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