Bayer settles with 27 state attorneys general

Chris Rizo Feb. 10, 2009, 4:21pm

Lisa Madigan (D-Ill.)

Richard Cordray (D-Ohio)

SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (Legal Newsline)-Bayer AG has agreed to run a $20 million national advertising campaign to correct misleading information about the uses of its oral contraceptive Yaz, under an agreement with 27 state attorneys general.

The German drug maker also agreed to submit any television advertisements for its oral contraceptive regulators for approval.

Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan said the settlement helps ensure that "the pharmaceutical industry is not using deceptive marketing and advertising practices."

The settlement comes after Bayer violated the terms of a 2007 multistate settlement over allegations that Bayer used deceptive advertising to market Baycol, a cholesterol-lowering drug.

As for Yaz, the attorneys general said Bayer improperly marketed the oral birth control pill to treat symptoms of premenstrual syndrome without approval from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"When defendants violate their agreements, we will pursue action in the best interests of the state," said Madigan, a Democrat.

The FDA says Yaz is approved to treat a condition known as premenstrual dysphoric disorder, or PMDD, which is more severe than PMS and causes such symptoms as anxiety, tension and persistent anger.

"This case is a strong example of federal-state collaboration to stop the unlawful marketing of prescription drugs," said Ohio Attorney General Cordray, a Democrat. "By leveraging state enforcement authority with the FDA's technical expertise, we achieved an excellent result that ensures future YAZ advertisements will be lawful."

In settling with the attorneys general, Bayer did not admit to any wrongdoing.

"Resolving this matter is not only in the best interests of Bayer, but also the interests of patients who rely on Yaz for contraception," Bayer said in a statement.

In addition to the attorneys general from Illinois and Ohio, also a part of the settlement are the AGs of Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maine, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, Nevada, North Carolina, Oregon, Pennsylvania, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Washington and Wisconsin.

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