$520 Million Pay Out for Off-Label Marketing

The New York Times reports that AstraZeneca has agreed to settle a federal investigation of its marketing practices for the drug, Seroquel.

The settlement requires the company to pay $520 million and was announced on Tuesday by Attorney General Eric Holder. AstraZeneca denies the allegations, but agreed to the payment to avoid what would be protracted litigation with the government.

The drug was originally developed to treat schizophrenia. However, the pharmaceutical company allegedly paid doctors to market drugs for unapproved uses including uses by kids, the elderly, veterans and others. With federal investigations and whistleblower suits lingering, the company’s sales and marketing was front and center in this matter. This is the latest settlement in a line of federal investigations into the illegal marketing of antipsychotic drugs.

The claims center around the contention that the company misled doctors and their patients by failing to disclose studies that showed this drug increases diabetes risk. They also are alleged to have emphasized favorable research while also failing to disclose risks.

The uses for kids and others were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration and caused various side effects. Kids gained weight and other patients died as a result of the off-label uses.

The California Injury Attorney Blog has reported previously on the off-label marketing case against Pfizer and its settlement. Similar cases have been settled with Eli Lilly for Zyprexa and other pharmaceuticals.

Related Web Resources

Visit the Food and Drug Administration’s site for more information on how drugs are approved for use.

The California law firm of Hersh & Hersh has significant experience litigating cases involving major pharmaceuticals and medical devices. Please contact us to talk with one our lawyers.