March 10, 2011
Jefferson City, Mo. – Attorney General Chris Koster said today his office and 37 other state attorneys general have reached a settlement with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP, in which Missouri will receive $1.5 million. The settlement stems from allegations AstraZeneca engaged in an off-label marketing campaign that improperly promoted the antipsychotic drug, Seroquel. The company also failed to disclose potentially dangerous side effects of Seroquel and withheld negative information concerning its safety. AstraZeneca will pay the states a total of $68.5 million to settle the company’s deceptive and misleading claims about Seroquel.
“The public has a right to trust that the claims a pharmaceutical company makes about its drugs are honest and accurate,” Koster said. “This settlement will make other companies think twice before resorting to deceiving and misleading consumers.”
Koster said the settlement resolves a three-year investigation into AstraZeneca’s unlawful marketing activities, which promoted Seroquel to treat pediatric and geriatric populations for medical conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, dementia, anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and post traumatic stress disorder.
In addition to the $68.5 million payment, the settlement requires AstraZeneca to post its payments to physicians on a website; not give financial incentives to marketing and sales personnel for off-label marketing; and refrain from promoting Seroquel to providers who are unlikely to prescribe it for an FDA-approved used.