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Drug maker Daiichi Sankyo will pay North Carolina $281,735.37 for allegedly offering kickbacks to get doctors to prescribe the company’s drugs, Attorney General Roy Cooper said today.

“Drugs should be prescribed because they are the best choice for the patient, not because the company offers the best benefits to the doctor,” Cooper said. “Offering kickbacks doesn’t put patients’ interests first.”

Under the agreement, Daiichi Sankyo will pay $39 million to states and the federal government to compensate Medicaid, as well as other fines and restitution. The settlement resolves allegations that Daiichi Sankyo offered lavish meals and speaker program honoraria as kickbacks to induce physicians to prescribe its drugs Azor, Benicar, Tribenzor, all used to treat high blood pressure, and Welchol, used to treat high cholesterol.

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With the 2016 elections fast approaching, the North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles continues its collaborative effort with the North Carolina State Board of Elections to issue no-fee voter ID cards and register qualified voters at all driver license offices statewide.

As directed by the General Assembly in accordance with the Voter Information Verification Act (VIVA – House Bill 589), effective January 1, 2016, North Carolina will require all voters to present valid photo identification to cast a ballot in the upcoming elections.

“The Division will continue to support the process of registering North Carolinians to vote and issuing no-fee voter ID cards,” said NCDMV Commissioner Kelly Thomas. “We want to remind everyone that you can complete this process as a priority service at any of the 114 driver license offices across the state. Don’t wait until the last minute.”

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The 2015-16 North Carolina State Transportation Map has been unveiled as part of the N.C. Department of Transportation’s Centennial Celebration and is now available free of charge.

The State Transportation Map is funded and produced by NCDOT. It is distributed by VisitNC, a unit of the Economic Development Partnership of North Carolina. It can be ordered online at visitnc.com/statemap or by calling 1-800-847-4862 (VISIT NC). Maps will also be available at welcome centers, rest areas and NCDOT offices across the state.

First published in 1916, the state map is NCDOT’s most popular publication, with two million copies in this year’s initial printing. North Carolina has one of the largest highway systems in the nation, and the new map details the more than 106,000 miles of public roadway that span the state. That includes 79,585 miles of state-maintained roads.

The cover of the new map features a montage of North Carolina scenery, including the Blue Ridge Mountains from the peak of Mt. Jefferson, a trail wandering through Clemmons Educational State Park in Clayton, the statue that stands outside the Andy Griffith Museum in Mount Airy, the scenic Blue Ridge Parkway and Jockey’s Ridge State Park in Nags Head.

The map also includes information on Governor McCrory’s 25-Year Vision for transportation in North Carolina, North Carolina’s State Parks and Forest Service—both of which also turn 100 this year—and Governor McCrory’s Art That Moves You initiative, which uses texture, landscaping, original artwork and lighting to improve infrastructure, bridges and gateways to promote tourism and economic development.

The North Carolina Division of Motor Vehicles, in conjunction with the North Carolina Department of Environment and Natural Resources, will debut a new emissions exemption pertaining to the North Carolina Inspection and Maintenance program on Wednesday, April 1.

In accordance with House Bill 585, the new state implementation will allow vehicles that are produced within three years of the current year and have less than 70,000 miles on the odometer, an exemption from obtaining an emissions inspection.

“Our most recent research showed that North Carolina could exempt newer vehicles from emissions tests without making our air unhealthy to breathe,” NCDENR Division of Air Quality Director Sheila Holman said.

A vehicles age is determined by its model year, which is prominently displayed on the owner’s valid registration and the automobile emissions control label located in the engine compartment. All vehicles are still subject to the annual safety inspection.

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