Mega drug company Astra Zeneca has agreed to pay $ 520 million to resolve charges that it unlawfully pushed a powerful anti-psychotic medication to treat medical problems that it was never approved for the Food and Drug Administration.
Astra Zeneca, although continuing to deny that it did anything wrong, will nevertheless poney up over a half billion dollars.
According to the government prosecutors, Astra Zeneca improperly promoted the drug Seroquel as a treatment for Alzheimer’s, anger management, depression and sleeplessness, despite only having the required approval for schizophrenia, bipolar depression and bipolar disorder in the country. This marketing campaign resulted in false claims for payment being made to government health programs such as Medicaid, the government claimed.
Astra Zeneca also violated ‘anti-kickback’ laws by compensating physicians recruited to put their names on articles written about off-label uses of Seroquel, according to the government. This practice is often referred to in the industry as “ghost writting.”
Attorney General Eric Holder emphasized that “[t]hese were not victimless crimes – illegal acts by pharmaceutical companies and false claims against Medicare and Medicaid can put the public health at risk, corrupt medical decisions by health care providers, and take billions of dollars directly out of taxpayers’ pockets.” Holder stated that the fine largest amount ever paid to settle an off-label marketing allegation that doesn’t involve criminal charges.
Once again Big Pharma placed profits over the safety of the people using its products. The wrongful prescription of Seroquel can result in a number of unnecessary symptoms including weight gain, hyperglycemia and diabetes. Presently, Astro Zeneca is being sued for damages arising out of this marketing campaign. If you or anyone else you now has suffered injuries as a result of Seroquel, please contact us.
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