Seroquel maker to pay $5.5M in latest settlement related to off-label use of the antipsychotic drug

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Drugmaker AstraZeneca recently settled a lawsuit with the state of Kentucky over allegations of improperly marketing its atypical antipsychotic drug Seroquel. Under the settlement, the London-based pharmaceutical company will pay the Bluegrass State $5.5 million.

AstraZeneca improperly marketed the schizophrenia and bipolar disorder drug for off-label uses, including treatment of dementia and Alzheimer's disease, according to the state's attorney general, Jack Conway. As of August 2004, about 15% of Seroquel users in Kentucky were older than 65, but the drug company had not established Seroquel's “safety or effectiveness” for this group, according to the attorney general.

A spokesman for AstraZeneca said the company denies the allegations and settled with Kentucky to avoid a lengthy and expensive legal battle, according to the Bureau of National Affairs.

This is the latest example of AstraZeneca settling a suit related to marketing Seroquel for off-label uses. The company paid out $520 million in a federal settlement in 2010 and $68.5 million in a settlement involving 37 states in 2011.

Seroquel was the antipsychotic drug most often given to nursing home residents as of 2010, according to a recently published study.

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