May 6, 2010
AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP will pay Washington state nearly $10 million for improperly marketing Seroquel, a drug used to treat schizophrenia and manic depression.
Federal and state officials say that AstraZeneca illegally paid for doctors to attend meetings at resorts, where those doctors would “advise” the drug maker about marketing messages for unapproved uses. Medical professionals were also paid to serve as authors of promotional articles and to conduct studies for unapproved uses of the drug.
An investigation shows that as a result of these activities, misleading information was distributed about Seroquel, reports the state Attorney General’s Office. This led health providers to wrongly prescribe the drug to children, adolescents, and dementia patients in long-term care facilities – costing publicly funded programs millions of dollars.
Seroquel and other drugs are purchased for recipients of Medicaid, a government program for low-income consumers. Seroquel is approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, also known as manic depression, and other conditions.
A government investigation showed that between Jan.1, 2001, through Dec. 31, 2006, the drug was wrongly promoted to treat aggression, Alzheimer’s, anger management, anxiety, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, dementia, and sleeplessness. Sequoel isn’t approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat these conditions.
Read entire article: http://blog.seattlepi.com/boomerconsumer/archives/204984.asp