Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
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Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News
Pharmaguy curates and provides insights into selected drug industry news and issues.
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AstraZeneca Psychiatrist KOLs Forced to Resign from Texas State Hospital for Promoting Seroquel

AstraZeneca Psychiatrist KOLs Forced to Resign from Texas State Hospital for Promoting Seroquel | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it
Two psychiatrists at a Texas state hospital have resigned after being told they would face disciplinary actions for accepting hundreds of thousands of dollars in speaking and consulting fees from AstraZeneca while also promoting one of its drugs to state officials.


The psychiatrists allegedly violated various department rules as a result of their relationship to the drug maker, which involved efforts to ensure the Seroquel XR antipsychotic would be placed on the state formularyand prescribed by state physicians, according to letters sent to the physicians by the department. A formulary is a list of preferred drugs for which insurance coverage is made.


Texas officials say that one psychiatrist, Lisa Perdue, was paid more than $615,000 by the drug maker between 2005 and 2013, and allegedly approached members of the state’s Executive Formulary Committee, although did not disclose she did work for AstraZeneca, according to department documents. And Anthony Claxton received more than $231,000 between 2005 and 2012, according to department documents.

Pharma Guy's insight:


This illustrates the "toxicity" of Key Opinion Leaders (KOLs). For more on that read "A KOL by Any Other Name".


Meanwhile, the biggest pharma funder of the National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI) in 2009 was AstraZenca (AZ), which donated $1,255,000.00. Recall that AZ is forced to pay about 400X that amount ($520 million) to resolve allegations that it illegally marketed the anti-psychotic drug Seroquel for uses not approved as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration (see HHS press release here).

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AstraZeneca paid $465K in kickbacks to mental health officials, committed fraud in Seroquel marketing, says TX AG

AstraZeneca paid $465K in kickbacks to mental health officials, committed fraud in Seroquel marketing, says TX AG | Pharmaguy's Insights Into Drug Industry News | Scoop.it

AstraZeneca's battle over Seroquel marketing missteps drags on. Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has sued the company for fraud, saying that AstraZeneca sales reps misled doctors and state Medicaid officials about Seroquel's side effects, paid kickbacks to two influential state decision-makers, and promoted the powerful antipsychotic for off-label uses.


AstraZeneca targeted Texas Medicaid for Seroquel sales, the suit claims, deeming the program "low hanging fruit" and "an ABSOLUTE MUST WIN" for the drug's brand team. Off-label promotion was "encouraged and rewarded," the suit says. The Medicaid program was so essential to Seroquel marketing, the AG's suit claims, that the company shelled out $465,000 to two top mental health officials to help boost scripts.

Pharma Guy's insight:


AZ seems to be a serial fraudster when it comes to off-label Seroquel promotion. Back in April 2010,  AstraZeneca was fined $520 million by U.S. DOJ to resolve allegations that it illegally promoted the anti-psychotic drug Seroquel. The drug was approved for treating schizophrenia and later for bipolar mania, but the government alleged that AstraZeneca promoted Seroquel for a variety of unapproved uses, such as aggression, sleeplessness, anxiety, and depression. AstraZeneca denied the charges but agreed to pay the fine to end the investigation. For more on that and other pharma settlements, read The DOJ v Pharma Settlement Planetary System

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