For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
Date: August 31, 2005
Wasden Announces Availability of Grants
(Boise) - Nearly $15 million in grant money is now available from a consumer protection settlement resolving allegations of deceptive “off-label” marketing of the prescription drug Neurontin©, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden announced today. The settlement with Warner-Lambert, now a division of Pfizer Inc., was announced in May 2004.
Proposals may be submitted by individual states, a group of states or other governmental entities, academic institutions, or not-for-profit organizations having expertise and experience in health or consumer protection issues.
Phase one emphasizes drug marketing and drug information through educational campaigns targeting prescribers and consumers. The goals of the first phase are: 1) to improve prescribing practices by educating physicians, pharmacists and other health professionals about the drug-approval process, drug marketing, and access to sources of fair and balanced drug information; and 2) to similarly educate consumers.
This phase will include several rounds of funding, with preference given to programs that are national in scope. A committee of eight state attorneys general will review the proposals and award the grants.
Phase two will focus on conditions, specifically seizure disorders and psychological conditions, for which Neurontin© has been prescribed. The details of the second funding phase will be announced later.
The consumer protection investigation focused on alleged violations of state consumer protection laws that occurred when Warner-Lambert promoted Neurontin© for various “off-label” indications. “Off-label” refers to use of a drug for purposes other than those specifically approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is illegal for pharmaceutical manufacturers to promote the off-label use of their drugs, although doctors are permitted to prescribe for such uses. Neurontin© is a prescription medication approved by the FDA for assistance in the treatment of epilepsy and treatment of post-herpetic neuralgia. Approximately 90% of Neurontin© prescriptions, however, are for off-label purposes. The attorneys general of all 50 states joined the May 2004 settlement.
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