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ASTRAZENECA TO FACE 2012 TRIAL IN ARKANSAS

Wednesday, 18th July

AstraZeneca Plc (AZN) must face a trial over claims by Arkansas that the drugmaker hid health risks of its anti-psychotic drug Seroquel when selling it to residents covered by the state’s Medicaid program, a judge ruled.

London-based AstraZeneca, which agreed in March to pay $68.5 million to resolve claims that it deceptively marketed Seroquel in a number of states, will face a September 2012 trial of a lawsuit filed by Arkansas Attorney General Dustin McDaniel over sales of the drug, Circuit Judge Chris Piazza in Little Rock ruled today.

Arkansas officials, who opted out of the March Seroquel settlement, contend AstraZeneca defrauded the state’s Medicaid program by failing to properly outline the anti-psychotic medicine’s risks in its warning label. The state seeks a $5,000 penalty for each Seroquel prescription written in Arkansas over an 11-year period starting in 1997, according to Fletcher Trammell, one of the state’s lawyers.

Over the last year, AstraZeneca officials have been working to resolve litigation over Seroquel, which was the company’s second-biggest selling drug in 2009 after the ulcer medicine Nexium.

The company agreed to pay almost $1 billion to resolve claims by the U.S. government and 37 states over Seroquel marketing. That figure also includes more than $345 million in settlements of patient lawsuits over the drug. AstraZeneca officials said in August that they had resolved about two-thirds of the 26,000 product-liability suits filed over the medicine...

Full story: www.bloomberg.com/news/2011-07-18/astrazeneca-to-face-2012-trial-in-arkansas-over-sales-of-anti-psychotic.html

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