Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca (AZ) is to pay an out-of-courtsettlement of £340 million over allegations it bribed doctors andillegally marketed an anti-psychotic drug in the US.
The country’s Justice Department accused the company of aggressivelypromoting Seroquel for use with unapproved conditions, such asAlzheimer’s and anxiety.
While the FDA had passed the treatment for a selection of disorders,doctors unorthodoxly prescribing the drug could have put patients arisk, prosecutors alleged.
The Justice Department also claimed AZ had violated anti-corruptionlaws by paying doctors to present themselves as authors of positivearticles on the product.
Glenn Engelmann, the company’s US general counsel, denied theallegations, saying AZ “takes its obligations very seriously under itsagreements with the government”.
The settlement is the latest in a series of crackdowns by President Obama on healthcare fraud.
Copyright Press Association 2010