10/06/2011: "Seroquel Slapdown"
According to the Associated Press, via the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette, drugmaker AstraZeneca will have to pay 520 million in fines to resolve “allegations of illegal marketing of the company’s antipsychotic drug Seroquel.”
AstraZeneca allegedly marketed Seroquel for off-label uses, those not approved by federal drug regulators including insomnia and psychiatric conditions other than schizophrenia and bipolar disorder.
U.S. Attorney Michael Levy of Philadelphia, where the settlement was filed, said that the company had “turned patients into guinea pigs in an unsupervised drug test.
AstraZeneca, which has its U.S. headquarters in Wilmington, Delaware, faces more than 25,000 product liability lawsuits over Seroquel, with most alleging that the drug caused diabetes. Seroquel has been on the market since 1997.
The government said AstraZeneca paid kickbacks to doctors recruited to serve as authors of articles by Astra Zeneca and the company’s agents about the unapproved uses of Seroquel.
The company also made payments to doctors to travel to resort locations to advise AstraZeneca about marketing messages for unapproved uses of the drug, the government stated.
AstraZeneca denied the allegations leveled by the government in the civil case settled Tuesday, saying it wanted to avoid the delay, uncertainty and expense of a protracted legal battle.”
The story goes on to state the drug is the second best seller for the company, generating sales of 4.9 Billion dollars.