- AstraZeneca will pay $110 million to settle two lawsuits brought against it by the Texas Attorney General over accusations the British drugmaker misleadingly promoted its cholesterol drug Crestor and its antipsychotic Seroquel off label.
- The settlements, which resolve the state's charges without AstraZeneca admitting fault, is far less than the $5 billion the state originally sought when it sued AstraZeneca in 2013, as reported by Bloomberg.
- Texas' Attorney General alleged AstraZeneca made payments totaling hundreds of thousands of dollars to two former state hospital doctors in order to push use of Seroquel in the state's Medicaid system.
Drugmakers have frequently run afoul of rules prohibiting promotion of drugs for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Oftentimes, such charges are settled without admission of guilt on the part of the pharma companies, such as recent deals with Celgene and Aegerion.
That's the case with AstraZeneca, which cleared up the charges of false and misleading marketing of its former top-seller Crestor (rosuvastatin) and the antipsychotic Seroquel (quetiapine).
"While AstraZeneca denies the allegations, it is in the best interests of the company to resolve these matters and to move forward with our business of discovering and developing important, life-changing medicines — while avoiding the delay, uncertainty, and expense of protracted litigation," AstraZeneca said in a statement emailed to BioPharma Dive.
Texas claimed that AstraZeneca promoted Seroquel to state Medicaid providers, who primarily treated children and teens — a patient population the drug was not approved for. Regarding Crestor, the state alleged AstraZeneca "executed a plan of deception" to convince state providers the statin was more effective than what was shown clinically.
The two drugs, both of which now face generic competition and are in decline, accounted for 8% of AstraZeneca's global sales over the first six months of 2018.
Texas' suit grew out of whistleblower complaints brought by former AstraZeneca employees.