NATION



NATION
Expert: Rising crude costscould boost gas prices
CAMARILLO, Calif. -- Average gas prices nationwide have dropped nearly 5 cents in the past three weeks with an increase in supply, but soaring crude oil prices could cause rates to rise again soon, an industry analyst said Sunday.
The weighted national average for all three grades of gasoline fell about 4.9 cents between July 23 and Friday to $1.90 per gallon, said Trilby Lundberg, who publishes the semimonthly Lundberg Survey.
That represents a drop of 20 cents per gallon since May 21, when the average price peaked at slightly more than $2.10 a gallon.
Subsidiary pleads guiltyto kickback in scheme
PHILADELPHIA -- A Schering-Plough Corp. subsidiary has pleaded guilty to paying a kickback to a major health insurer as part of a scheme to protect the price of the allergy drug Claritin.
Schering-Plough had previously agreed to pay $346 million in fines and civil damages to settle charges that it made improper payments to Cigna Corp. after the insurance company threatened to switch its members from Claritin to other, less expensive allergy drugs.
The payments lowered the cost of Claritin for Cigna, but prosecutors said the deal violated a federal rule requiring pharmaceutical companies to give their best prices to Medicaid, the government health program for the poor.
Three whistle-blowers, who tipped officials off by filing a lawsuit claiming the marketing tactics were illegal, will be paid a $31.7 million reward as part of the settlement.
Associated Press

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