Ky. judge hits AstraZeneca with $5.3M civil penalty

Nick Rees Jan. 28, 2010, 3:30pm


FRANKFORT, Ky. (Legal Newsline) - Pharmaceutical giant AstraZeneca has been hit with $5.3 million in civil penalties for violations of Kentucky's Consumer Protection Act, Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway has announced.

The $5.3 million in civil penalties follows a jury decision in October that handed down a $14.7 million verdict against AstraZeneca for defrauding Kentucky Consumers and the Medicaid Program by inflating prescription drug prices.

Franklin Circuit Court Judge Roger Crittenden granted the motion for civil penalties, finding 5,391 willful violations of the Kentucky Consumer Protection Act. Judge Crittenden awarded $1,000 per violation.

"I am certainly pleased with Judge Crittenden's decision to grant our motion for civil penalties," Conway said. "I believe the outcome of this case sends a clear message to drug companies that deceptive business practices will not be tolerated in Kentucky."

Suits have been filed by Conway against 47 of the nation's pharmaceutical manufacturers. They allege that the drug companies were in violation of Kentucky's Medicaid Fraud and Consumer Protection Statues and had engaged in false and deceptive advertising.

Conway has previously secured a $16 million verdict against Novartis' generic drugs division Sandoz in June over inflated prices for its prescription drugs. Cases have also been settled with Amgen for $2.4 million, Immunex for $145,000, Bristol-Meyers Squibb for $10 million and Baxter Healthcare Corporation for $2 million.

Conway's Office of Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control, since Conway took office in January 2008, has recovered or obtained verdicts totaling nearly $100 million for the Kentucky Medicaid Program.

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