Amgen has settled allegations that it provided kickbacks to long-term care pharmacy providers to encourage them to use its Aranesp anaemia drug instead of a rival’s, by agreeing to pay $24.9m, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced this week.

The world’s largest biotechnology company was accused of violating the False Claims Act by providing kickbacks to Omnicare Inc, Kindred Healthcare Inc and PharMerica Corp for switching Medicare and Medicaid patients to Aranesp, The Los Angeles Times reported.

The million dollar settlement resolves a lawsuit filed in the District Court for the District of South Carolina under the whistleblower provision of the False Claims Act.

Amgen denies all of the claims brought against it.

In a statement, the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department’s Civil Division Stuart Delery said: "We will continue to pursue pharmaceutical companies that pay kickbacks to long-term care pharmacy providers to influence drug-prescribing decisions."

Aranesp is one of the company’s biggest selling drugs; however, sales have fallen considerably since 2007 after the drugs faced a series of safety problems and restrictions on its use.

In December 2012 Amgen agreed to pay $762m to resolve federal litigation accusing it of marketing Aranesp for unapproved uses.