AstraZeneca Planned Off-Label Drug Sales in 2000

Actively promoting off-label use is illegal and AstraZeneca has been caught. This has been all over the place in my news feeds, on numerous blogs and several of my email lists and the case goes back a while too, so I don’t even remember where I saw it first so no one is getting a hat tip. I’m tired and not keeping up with stuff as well as I should but I do like to try to keep my readers at least marginally in touch with the rampant corruption in pharma.

From Bloomberg:

AstraZeneca Plc set a strategy of marketing its Seroquel antipsychotic drug for unapproved, or “off-label,” uses as early as 2000, according to documents unsealed as part of litigation over the medicine.

“Key Success Factors: Broaden Seroquel use on and off label,” AstraZeneca officials wrote in a December 2000 “Seroquel Strategy Summary” provided by a spokeswoman for the plaintiffs’ lawyers in the cases. Under required actions by the company, the plan called for sales managers to “utilise whole selling team. Educational programmes to share off label data,” according to the documents.

“We have plans that are strategy plans that are not accidental that were approved by people at higher levels of the company,” Ed Blizzard, a lawyer with Blizzard McCarthy & Nabers LLP, said during a conference call today. “It’s a clear plan to broaden the use both on and off label.”

The plan was among thousands of pages of files released on a Web site today by lawyers who are suing AstraZeneca over Seroquel, including Blizzard and Camp Bailey of Bailey Perrin Bailey. They released some of the documents yesterday along with a chart describing dozens more. (read the rest)

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