AstraZeneca settles deceptive marketing claims

By Reuters
Posted March 10 at 11:44 a.m.

British drugmaker AstraZeneca Plc has agreed to pay $68.5 million to resolve allegations by U.S. state regulators that its marketing of the multibillion-dollar antipsychotic drug Seroquel was deceptive.

The accord with 37 U.S. states and Washington, D.C., is the largest multistate, consumer protection-based pharmaceutical settlement on record, said Paula Dow, attorney general of New Jersey, which is among the settling states.

Regulators accused AstraZeneca of unfair and misleading practices in marketing Seroquel for unapproved uses. They also said the company had failed to adequately disclose potential side effects and withheld negative information from scientific studies regarding Seroquel’s safety and effectiveness.

“This case sends a message that we take seriously the duty pharmaceutical companies have to supply clear, accurate and complete information about their products to health care providers, and to market their products without deception or misleading claims,” Dow said in a statement.

Seroquel had worldwide sales of $5.3 billion in 2010, including $3.75 billion in the United States.

AstraZeneca said it previously set aside funds in litigation reserves to cover the settlement and will not have to take an additional charge.

The  settlement is separate from the $520 million AstraZeneca agreed to pay the U.S. government last year to settle similar allegations.

Alaska, Arkansas, Montana, New Mexico, South Carolina, Mississippi and Utah did not join the settlement and are still suing the company.

“AstraZeneca believes that the remaining claims, which are in various stages of litigation, are without merit, and we intend to vigorously defend ourselves,” company spokesman Tony Jewell said.

The multistate settlement did not include an admission of guilt by the company.

“While we deny the allegations, we believe it is important to bring these matters to a close and move forward with our business of providing medicines to patients,” Jewell said.

The company had been accused of promoting Seroquel for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration, such as Alzheimer’s disease, anxiety, dementia and depression. While doctors are free to prescribe drugs to patients as they see fit, companies can promote them for only FDA-approved uses.

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  1. Bob March 10 at 12:52 pm

    Drug & Medical Companies (and of course the Politicians in thier pockets) WILL SURELY wreck this country if they are allowed to continue as they have been – unabaitted

  2. Daniel Haszard March 11 at 3:49 a.m.

    Zyprexa and Seroquel same saga

    The use of powerful antipsychotic drugs has increased in children as young as three years old. Weight gain, increases in triglyceride levels and associated risks for diabetes and cardiovascular disease.
    The average weight gain (adults) over the 12 week study period was the highest for Zyprexa—17 pounds. You’d be hard pressed to gain that kind of weight sport-eating your way through the holidays.
    One in 145 adults died in clinical trials of those taking the antipsychotic drugs Zyprexa. This is Lilly’s # 1 product over $ 4 billion year sales,moreover Lilly also make billions on drugs that treat the diabetes often that has been caused by the zyprexa!

    Daniel Haszard Zyprexa victim activist and patient who got diabetes from it.