FILE PHOTO: An Amgen sign is seen at the company’s office in South San Francisco, California October 21, 2013. REUTERS/Robert Galbraith

BOSTON (Reuters) – Two drugmakers will pay nearly $125 million to settle claims they used charities that help cover Medicare patients’ out-of-pocket drug costs as a way to pay kickbacks aimed at encouraging the use of their medications, the U.S. Justice Department said on Thursday.

The department said Astellas Pharma and Amgen Inc were the latest pharmaceutical companies to settle claims stemming from an industry-wide probe of drugmakers’ financial support of patient assistance charities.

Astellas will pay $100 million while Amgen will pay $24.75 million, the department said. Neither company admitted wrongdoing or responded immediately to requests for comment.

The investigation, led by the