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BOSTON (AP) _ Hewlett-Packard Co. and Agilent Technologies have agreed to pay $7 million to settle claims made by the U.S. government that the companies sold faulty medical equipment.

The government said that HP sold it faulty patient monitors, anesthesia gas modules and oxygen monitors between January 1991 and July 1997, and then failed to comply with federal regulations requiring the company to investigate and document equipment failures.

The medical equipment was used in critical situations of patient care, including during surgery and in intensive care units.

The settlement amount is based upon a $5,000 to $10,000 penalty for the claims submitted for these products to the government during the designated time periods. A federal court has approved the settlement as fair, adequate, and reasonable.

HP spun off certain portions of its business, including its medical products division, to become Agilent in Nov. 1999, and subsequently sold the medical products group in 2001.

An HP engineer, Robert Hindin, brought the matter to the attention of the United States and will receive 23 percent of the settlement proceeds.