WESTON, Fla.--(BUSINESS WIRE)-- Freedland Russo is pleased that Eric Holder, U.S. Attorney General, announced the $520 million dollar settlement of a lawsuit filed against AstraZeneca. The settlement announced today in Philadelphia indicates marketing practices for Seroquel included promotion of the drug by physicians participating in clinical studies and drug sales representatives encouraging doctors to prescribe for the unapproved uses.
Only fifteen months since Eli Lilly agreed to pay $1.4 Billion to resolve claims relating to Zyprexa, the law firm of Freedland Russo has again proven to be tireless advocates in matters relating to the Pharmaceutical Industry. The AstraZeneca complaint was filed in 2004 on behalf of a whistleblower by Freedland Russo and their co-counsel, Philadelphia attorney Stephen A. Sheller, Esq.
Seroquel is among the top-selling drugs in the world with 2009 sales of $4.9 billion; 15% of AstraZeneca’s $33.2 billion in revenue is for schizophrenia and specific types of bipolar mania. AstraZeneca was charged with promoting Seroquel to physicians for use “off-label” in children and the elderly. Doctors are allowed to prescribe drugs for unapproved uses but FDA rules state that drug manufacturers may only promote their products for approved conditions and age groups.
“This is just another step in getting the attention of the entire pharmaceutical industry,” Freedland said. Attorney Daniel Harwin agrees that more action should be taken against pharmaceutical companies for illegally marketing their products. “This is a industry-wide problem and not limited to a few isolated companies. We have to keep pressing onward because the health, safety and well being of the public hangs in the balance,” Harwin said.
Whistleblowers are protected by the federal False Claims Act, where employees aware of their company knowingly defrauding the government may sue without threat of being fired, harassed, demoted, or discriminated against for cooperating in an investigation of their employer.
“Once again, a single brave person came to the forefront and held a big pharmaceutical company accountable,” said Freedland. “With each case that we pursue, we learn more about the internal workings of these companies and just how far they are willing to push the limits.”
Partner Russo added, “We are also thrilled that the majority of this settlement will go back to whom it belongs, the taxpayers and the states.” In that regard, the firm lauded the team in the U.S. Attorney’s office for their investigation, including Chief of the Civil Division Virginia Gibson and Assistant U.S. Attorney Colin Cherico. “As they did with Eli Lilly, the U.S. Attorney’s office in Philadelphia proved their commitment to recouping hundreds of millions for the government and its citizen taxpayers,” said Russo.
About Freedland Russo:
Freedland Russo is a law firm committed to assisting and fighting for consumers in the United States who have suffered social injustices at the hands of individuals, large corporations, and insurance companies. The firm lawyers are renowned for handling complex cases involving matters of medical malpractice, pharmaceutical liability, automobile liability, wrongful death, and whistleblower cases. Freedland Russo is based in Weston, Florida. For more information log on to www.westonlawyers.com or call 888.254.7066
For Freedland Russo
Malkus Communications Group
Chuck Malkus, 954-523-4200 ext. 11
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