Colorado takes part in drug settlement

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Colorado will receive $2 million as part of a settlement between a pharmaceutical company and the state that alleges the company improperly promoted the anti-psychotic drug in the state.

Colorado’s money is part of a settlement to resolve three federal whistleblower lawsuits, as well as other claims from various states and the federal government.
The UK-based AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals will pay a total of $520 million damages and penalties to compensate Medicaid and other federal programs for harm suffered as a result of its conduct.

“Colorado’s Medicaid program provides essential health services to the neediest among us,” said Attorney General John Suthers. “Our work to recov
The government alleged that AstraZeneca promoted the sale and use of Seroquel, an “atypical antipsychotic” drug, for certain uses not approved by the federal government.

It generally is not illegal for doctors to prescribe drugs for off-label uses, but it is illegal for drug manufacturers to market drugs for non-FDA-approved uses. State Medicaid programs generally do not pay for drugs prescribed for off-label purposes.

The federal government and states alleged that AstraZeneca promoted the sale and use of Seroquel not only to psychiatrists, but also to primary care physicians and other health professionals for unapproved uses, including the treatment of aggression, Alzheimer’s disease, anger management, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and sleeplessness.

The states and federal government also claimed that AstraZeneca made illegal payments to physicians, such as picking up the tab for travel to resorts and other locations to act as advisers, author articles and conduct studies for unapproved uses of the drug.