For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: March 10, 2011

Idaho to Receive $997,000 in Drug Marketing Settlement

(Boise) – The State of Idaho will receive $997,000 as a result of a legal settlement with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP and AstraZeneca LP, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said.  The settlement resolves allegations of unlawful marketing of the prescription drug Seroquel.

The $68.5 million settlement with 38 state attorneys general is the largest multistate consumer protection pharmaceutical settlement ever.

The complaint, filed today with the settlement agreement, alleges that AstraZeneca engaged in unfair and deceptive practices when it marketed Seroquel for unapproved or “off-label” uses, failed to adequately disclose the drug’s potential side effects to health care providers, and withheld negative information contained in scientific studies concerning the safety and efficacy of Seroquel.

In addition to the payments, AstraZeneca agreed not to promote Seroquel in a false, misleading or deceptive manner, including for off-label uses, which are not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

Although physicians are allowed to prescribe drugs for off-label uses, pharmaceutical manufacturers are prohibited by law from marketing their products for off-label uses.  The attorneys general alleged that AstraZeneca marketed Seroquel for off-label uses, including for use in pediatric and geriatric populations, specifically in nursing homes for Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, as well as for anxiety, depression, sleep disorders, and post traumatic stress disorder.  AstraZeneca promoted Seroquel for such uses, even though Seroquel was not, at the time it was marketed, approved for the treatment of these conditions, and AstraZeneca had not established that Seroquel was safe and effective for these uses.

Seroquel can produce dangerous side effects, including weight gain, hyperglycemia, diabetes, cardiovascular complications, an increased risk of mortality in elderly patients with dementia and other severe conditions.

Idaho’s share of the settlement will be deposited into the Consumer Protection Account, which partially funds the Attorney General’s consumer protection operations.  Unspent moneys are transferred to the state’s General Fund for appropriation by the legislature.  The Attorney General has transferred $14,539,129 to the General Fund from the consumer protection account since fiscal year 2000.

The settlement is subject to approval by the Fourth District Court in Ada County.

Click here to read the final judgment and consent decree.

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