April 27th, 2010
01:43 PM ET

Drug maker to pay $520 million fine for illegal marketing

Pharmaceutical firm AstraZeneca has agreed to pay a $520 million fine to settle claims that it illegally marketed its antipsychotic drug Seroquel, the Department of Justice said Tuesday.

AstraZeneca is charged with fraudulently marketing Seroquel and promoting the drug to patients and physicians for uses that the Food and Drug Administration never approved, Attorney General Eric Holder said at Tuesday's settlement announcement.

The pharmaceutical giant has also been accused of violating anti-kickback laws by paying doctors to refer the drug to patients, while at the same time bringing in money from government health care programs.

"According to the settlement, AstraZeneca's illegal marketing of the drug led to millions of dollars in false claims against federal and state programs like Medicare and Medicaid," Holder said.

The settlement fine of $520 million, which will be paid to federal and state taxpayers, is the most money ever paid by a business in a civil-only settlement for charges of off-label marketing, the Department of Justice said.

"These were not victimless crimes," said Holder. "Illegal acts by pharmaceutical companies and false claims against Medicare and Medicaid can put the public health at risk, corrupt medical decisions by health care providers, and take billions of dollars directly out of taxpayers' pockets."

Read full CNNMoney.com story

soundoff (315 Responses)
  1. DJ

    its a good thing when these companies are put in their place! Its with high hopes that more of these companies start to really focus caring.

    April 27, 2010 at 1:51 pm | Report abuse |
  2. vivek

    I think what Astra Zeneca did was perfect. It made $4.9 Billion in sales of the drug – and only had to pay back $500M. Not a bad deal. Astra Zeneca – please sell more like this, and mark this as a cost of sale. We dont care how many people had to be duped about this.

    Go Astra Zeneca!

    April 27, 2010 at 1:52 pm | Report abuse |
  3. somedude

    wow what does that mean for people like me who are on seroquel?

    April 27, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  4. Jenna Tolls

    The average CNN reader won't bother to read the details. They'll just see a big drug company having to pay money and instantly view it as a good thing. The populist bandwagon is running near capacity these days.

    April 27, 2010 at 1:53 pm | Report abuse |
  5. R

    Awesome. Unfortunately the fine will not be enough to put them out of business.

    April 27, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  6. Brandon

    How were they illegally marketing it?? Cause I get perscribed it for sleep not as an antipsychotic.

    April 27, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  7. cornelius

    Who do you think will foot the bill for their incompetence? Not them.. Get ready for higher prices from these knuckleheads!!

    April 27, 2010 at 1:54 pm | Report abuse |
  8. It's Me

    C'mon...the title is as long as the article. If you're going to post a story, how about providing some substantive information? How did they illegally market it?

    April 27, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  9. Tracy

    is there more information on this? What do they mean illegally marketing?

    April 27, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  10. cabaret volatire

    Take it from me, Seroquel sucks!

    April 27, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  11. che

    This is not your GOP FDA. Thank God, Obama and his people are starting to fine companies for improper behavior

    April 27, 2010 at 1:55 pm | Report abuse |
  12. You serious?

    Wow. Nice. A complete and UTTER lack of any information. Great reporting job.

    April 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  13. Joe Tippytoes

    Its about time the fined one of these sleazy drug companies, worse than crack dealers some of them

    April 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  14. Jamie

    What does that mean??

    Is it still ok to take?

    April 27, 2010 at 1:56 pm | Report abuse |
  15. DireWolf1972

    Where's the story?!? You'd think there would be some specifics or details as to how they illegally marketed it.

    April 27, 2010 at 1:57 pm | Report abuse |
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