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Allergan Settles Toxin-Export Allegations

January 27, 1998|Barbara Marsh

Allergan Inc. agreed to pay $824,000 to settle federal allegations that it improperly exported medicine made from a lethal toxin that can be used in biological warfare, the Commerce Department said. The penalty is the largest since international controls on biological exports became law six years ago, the agency said. The department alleged that it found 412 instances in which the Irvine drug company shipped botulinum toxin--a potentially deadly substance generally associated with food poisoning--without a special license. Iran and several other Mideast countries received the product, which Allergan sells as an injectable muscle relaxant. A company spokesman said the firm settled to avoid costly litigation and has quit shipping to Iran and other countries that don't follow regulatory controls. It believes the product, as a medicine, should be exempt from export controls.

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