SAN FRANCISCO (Legal Newsline) – California Attorney General Kamala D. Harris announced Dec. 8 that California, along with 42 other states and the District of Columbia, reached a $19.5 million settlement with Bristol-Myers Squibb over allegations the pharmaceutical company illegally marketed popular atypical antipsychotic drug Abilify. California will receive $1.3 million of the overall settlement.
California and other states first brought a case against Bristol-Myers Squibb and the manufacturer of the drug, Otsuka America Pharmaceuticals, in 2009. The states alleged that Bristol-Myers Squibb engaged in off-label marketing by illegally promoting Abilify for therapeutic purposes for which it was not approved. The company purportedly incentivized its sales executives to engage in the off-label marketing and purportedly misled doctors and patients about the drug’s risks.
“These companies endangered and compromised the health and well-being of millions of Americans in order to turn a profit,” Harris said. “This settlement makes clear that pharmaceutical companies using deceptive and unlawful tactics to promote drugs will not be tolerated in the United States.”
Abilify is approved in the United States to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, major depressive disorder and Tourette’s disorder.