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Daily Business Report — Dec. 28, 2012

S.D. Pharmacy To Pay $11.4 Million
Settlement For Kickback Scheme

The Justice Department said a San Diego-based pharmaceutical company agreed to pay $11.4 million to resolve allegations that it engaged in a scheme to promote its drugs by paying kickbacks to doctors to induce them to write prescriptions of its products, City News Service reports. Victory Pharma Inc.’s offices are on El Camino Real in San Diego. Victory Pharma agreed to the multimillion-dollar settlement to resolve federal civil and criminal liability arising from its marketing of the pharmaceutical products Naprelan, Xodol, Fexmid and Dolgic, according to authorities. Victory entered into a deferred prosecution agreement, paying a criminal forfeiture of $1.4 million to resolve federal Anti-Kickback Statute allegations and $9.9 million to resolve False Claim Act allegations. The kickbacks to doctors included tickets to professional and collegiate sporting events; tickets to concerts and plays; spa outings; golf and ski outings; dinners at expensive restaurants; and numerous other out-of-office events, authorities said.

Electric Cars Create a Buzz at the
San Diego International Auto Show

The doors opened to the San Diego International Auto Show Thursday morning at the San Diego Convention Center, and people came to see exotic cars, electric cars and muscle cars, KPBS reports. Marc Harlow, a spokesman for the show, said they also came to see what’s new. “If anybody’s shopping for a new car, this is a great place to do it because we have over 400 2013 vehicles from every manufacturer on the planet inside that hall,” said Harlow. The entire exhibition hall for the auto show had that new car smell. The sights included many cars that have created a buzz… an electric buzz. One was the new Chevy

Chevy Spark. File photo

Spark, the company’s first all-electric vehicle. The 2014 Sparks will be in showrooms this summer. A spokesman for GM said they’ll go about 80 miles on one charge. Toyota was also at the auto show, showing off its plug-in Prius and another sedan that you won’t find at the dealer. This slightly sexier plug-in is called an NS4, and it’s a “concept car.” “A ‘concept’ is really introducing an idea,” said Joyce Brew, a Toyota product specialist. “And then when they bring it to events like this — auto shows across the country — they get feedback from consumers and see how viable it is to produce a vehicle like this.”

The San Diego auto show had a little more than just new models. There were the “Star Cars,” which have been featured in TV and movies. One was a Gotham City squad car from the Batman films. Baby boomers would recognize that old black-and-white used in the Adam-12 TV show. And in one corner of the hall, there were some homemade electric cars. They were converted from gas to electric by San Diego hobbyists likes Bob Van Gorder. The San Diego International Auto Show runs through Sunday at the San Diego Convention Center.

South Bay Community Services Receives
Multimillion-Dollar Grant for Castle Park

South Bay Community Services in Chula Vista is receiving a $27.8 million, five-year federal grant to help crack the cycle of inter-generational poverty in the Castle Park neighborhood, NBC San Diego reports. The nonprofit agency is one of seven recipients nationwide to receive the funding from the U.S. Secretary of Education, and the Promise Neighborhoods program. Castle Park in Chula Vista is nestled between Naples and Palomar streets along Third Avenue and next to Lauderbach Park. The grant funding is aimed at a comprehensive community approach to fostering academic success and raising college-bound children. “Children must be safe, healthy and supported by adults across an entire community to reach their fullest potential,” said U. S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan in a news release today. “Against all odds, Promise Neighborhoods work to provide families and children with support they need to help break the cycle of poverty that threatens too many of our nation’s communities.”

El Vitral Opens Second Restaurant

El Vitral has opened its second San Diego County eatery in the Otay Ranch Town Center in Chula Vista. The restaurant, which features modern Mexican cuisine, joins other restaurants in the shopping center: The Cheesecake Factory, California Pizza Kitchen and P.F. Chang’s. El Vitral opened its East Village location in 2009 and, based on its success, a second location was added. “Everything in the restaurant is made from scratch daily, including the tortillas,” said Tina Medina, marketing director at Otay Ranch Town Center.

Mission Trails Regional Park

San Diego’s Biggest Park Gets Even Bigger

Mission Trails Park is what San Diego used to be. Its 5,800 acres of mountains and river valley let people imagine a countryside that is untouched by modern life. And now, Mission Trails will add another piece of wilderness in the city, as one of biggest urban parks in the United States will get even bigger. “It’s been really untouched for a long, long time. And it’s a really nice section of open space out here,” Matt Sanford, senior park ranger for Mission Trails Regional Park, told KPBS. The land he’s talking about is about 1,300 acres of now privately owned land. It’s just north of an undeveloped part of Miramar Air Station and east of I-15. In the coming months it will become city property, and part of Mission Trails Park. It’s the kind of place where you can hear only the wind, and see layers of mountain peaks recede into the distance. It’s also the latest chapter in the story of building an open-space park through decades of deals with developers and the U.S. government. So far, the land has been equipped with a parking lot and six miles of hiking trails. These 1,300 acres are not contiguous with the existing Mission Trails Park. In fact there’s about 10 miles that separate the park from this area. So how are people going to even know it’s Mission Trails? Dorothy Leonard, a former San Diego planning commissioner, says they’ll put up a big sign.

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We Want Your Opinions on San Diego’s Big Issues In the coming months, Probosky Research (one of California’s leading opinion research firms) will continue its partnership with SD METRO to survey San Diego residents about topics of interest to our readers. We’d like to throw open the door for suggestions for topics. What do you want to know? What do you think you know, but aren’t sure? What are you certain you know, but want to prove it beyond doubt? Ideally, we’d like to see questions that have to do with public policy.

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