SACRAMENTO, Calif. (Legal Newsline) — California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Dec. 20 that Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals Inc. (BIPI) has settled allegations of deceptive and misleading marketing of prescription drugs with a $13.5 million multistate penalty. California will get $857,000.

According to allegations, BIPI engaged in deceptive and misleading representations and off-label marketing of its prescription drugs. Specifically, the company purportedly misled the general public about the uses and efficacy of such prescription drugs as Micardis, Aggrenox, Atrovent and Combivent.

BIPI allegedly said its drugs had attributes they did not actually have, from sponsorships and approval statuses to characteristics, ingredients, uses and benefits. In some instances, BIPI failed to secure actual evidence to support the notion that its drugs could treat life-threatening conditions like heart attacks, congestive heart failure, and strokes.

"It is unacceptable for any drug company to put profits over patient health,” Becerra said. "Everyone deserves to have accurate and medically sound information about the medicines they are prescribed. This settlement serves as a reminder that using deceptive and unlawful tactics to promote drugs is not acceptable.”

In addition to the monetary penalty, BIPI agreed to ensure its marketing and promotional practices do not violate laws in the future. The company also will seek to ensure unbiased presentation of clinical information for its products.

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