By Dr. Mercola
May 20, 2010
Drugmaker AstraZeneca has agreed to pay $520 million to settle federal investigations into marketing practices for its schizophrenia drug Seroquel. This makes AstraZeneca the fourth big drug company in the last three years to admit to federal charges of illegal marketing of antipsychotic drugs.
The company was accused of misleading doctors and patients by spotlighting favorable research while failing to adequately disclose studies showing that Seroquel increases the risk of diabetes.
The New York Times reports that:
“AstraZeneca still faces more than 25,000 civil lawsuits filed on behalf of patients contending that the company did not disclose the drug’s risks.”
Dr. Mercola’s Comments:
The illegal and unsafe actions of drug companies make headlines yet again as AstraZeneca agrees to pay a $502 million fine to settle the federal charges of using illegal marketing tactics to drive up sales of its blockbuster drug Seroquel.
Although this sounds like a lot of money, it’s little more than a symbolic slap on the wrist when you consider how much money they’ve made from the drug already. According to the New York Times, the antipsychotic drug Seroquel pulled in $4.9 BILLION in sales last year!
You see from the company’s perspective it’s merely another cost of doing business. For every dollar they are fined they are making ten. While not all of their profit was due to their illegal marketing practices, the fine was only a one-time fine, while revenues have poured in over many years and will continue to do so in the future, as a result of these illegal activities.