Sep 28, 2010 12:37 PM by Bea Karnes, News First 5

Colorado receives $2 million settlement in lawsuit

Colorado has received $2 million as part a settlement with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals over allegations that it improperly promoted the drug Seroquel for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. Astra Zeneca paid a total of $520 million in damages and penalties to various governments.

"Colorado's Medicaid program provides essential health services to the neediest among us," Colorado Attorney General John Suthers said. "Our work to recover these funds for the state of Colorado underlines the work we do every day to police Medicaid providers. We will continue to work with our partner states and the federal government to enforce this settlement and pursue any pharmaceutical company, health care provider or individual that tries to exploit Colorado's Medicaid program."

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.

AstraZeneca allegedly promoted the sale and use of Seroquel to health professionals for unapproved uses, including the treatment of aggression, Alzheimer's disease, anger management, anxiety, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder and sleeplessness.



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