Drugmaker To Pay $5.2M to California as Part of Multistate Settlement
Pharmaceutical manufacturer AstraZeneca has agreed to pay a $68.5 million multistate settlement over allegations that the drugmaker promoted its psychiatric drug Seroquel for unapproved uses, the Los Angeles Times reports.
On Thursday, California Attorney General Kamala Harris (D) said the settlement will be shared by 37 states and the District of Columbia. California will receive $5.2 million of the settlement, which will be used to cover litigation costs and bolster the state's consumer protection fund, according to Harris.
Although FDA has approved the use of Seroquel to treat bipolar disorder and schizophrenia, the plaintiffs alleged that AstraZeneca promoted the drug for unapproved uses, such as treating Alzheimer's disease and insomnia. The plaintiffs also claimed that AstraZeneca:
- Failed to properly disclose possible side effects of Seroquel; and
- Withheld studies questioning the drug's effectiveness and safety (Ceasar, Los Angeles Times, 3/11).
AstraZeneca did not admit any wrongdoing in the case.
Tony Jewell, a spokesperson for the company, said, "While we deny the allegations, AstraZeneca believes it is important to bring these matters to a close and move forward with our business of providing medicines to patients" (Fisk/Feeley, Bloomberg, 3/10).
Under the settlement, AstraZeneca agreed not to market Seroquel in a misleading way or for unapproved use, Harris said. She added that the drugmaker also agreed to provide accurate responses to requests about off-label uses (Los Angeles Times, 3/11).
According to Jewell, the settlement does not resolve lawsuits filed by about seven other states (Bloomberg, 3/10).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.