McDaniel files suit against AstraZeneca

By Chris Rizo | May 21, 2008

Dustin McDaniel

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (Legal Newsline) - Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel has filed a lawsuit against AstraZeneca over its marketing of anti-psychotic medications.

The lawsuit, filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court, claims that AstraZeneca encouraged doctors to prescribe the anti-psychotic Seroquel, used to treat among other things symptoms of schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, even when it wasn't medically needed.

He also said the London-based pharmaceutical company engaged in off-label marketing by encouraging doctors to prescribe the drug to children and the elderly for uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

"The state has discovered that defendants have engaged in a protracted and willful course of corporate misconduct and misrepresentation," the complaint reads.

The Democratic attorney general has filed similar actions against the makers of the anti-psychotic drugs Risperdal and Zyprexa.

Like in those suits, McDaniel hopes to recoup millions of dollars paid by the state's Medicaid program for what he says were unnecessary prescriptions.

Arkansas' Medicaid program has spent about $200 million on Zyprexa, Risperdal and Zyprexa since the drugs came on the market, the attorney general's office said.

From Legal Newsline: Reach reporter Chris Rizo by e-mail at chrisrizo@legalnewsline.com.

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