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Pharmaceutical Giant AstraZeneca to Pay $520 Million for Off-Label Drug Marketing
Date:4/27/2010

h 2006, AstraZeneca brought certain conduct to the attention of the government and then cooperated in the investigation of the allegations being settled today.

The United States contends that AstraZeneca promoted the unapproved uses by improperly and unduly influencing the content of, and speakers, in company-sponsored continuing medical education programs. The company also engaged doctors to give promotional speaker programs on unapproved uses for Seroquel and to conduct studies on unapproved uses of Seroquel.  In addition, the company recruited doctors to serve as authors of articles that were ghostwritten by medical literature companies and about studies the doctors in question did not conduct.  AstraZeneca then used those studies and articles as the basis for promotional messages about unapproved uses of Seroquel.

"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," said Attorney General Eric Holder.  "This Administration is committed to recovering taxpayer money lost to health care fraud, whether it's by bringing cases against common criminals operating out of vacant storefronts or executives at some of the nation's biggest companies."

The United States also contends that AstraZeneca violated the federal Anti-Kickback Statute by offering and paying illegal remuneration to doctors it recruited to serve as authors of articles written by AstraZeneca and its agents about the unapproved uses of Seroquel.  AstraZeneca also offered and paid illegal remuneration to doctors to travel to resort locations to "advise" AstraZeneca about marketing messages for unapproved us
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
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