Many patients have brought a lawsuit against a British drugmaker AstraZeneca PLC “alleging they were harmed by the blockbuster drug for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder,” according to the Washington Post.
Apparently the marketing team (executives) for the company attempted to block the efforts by company scientists to raise their concerns about the antipsychotic drug Seroquel.
Problems that may be associated with this drug include weight gain.
Patients bringing this suit claim that they have evidence of internal documents released Wednesday that back their claim. The Associated Press received some of the internal e-mails and other documents which the Washington Post says “show efforts to keep public information about Seroquel positive amid a spirited debate between the company’s scientists and its marketing executives.”
Tony Jewell, the AstraZeneca spokesman, said that Seroquel was approved in 1997. The label insert said that diabetes, high blood sugar and weight gain have been observed in patients in clinical studies that have been conducted. Jewell also said that FDA approved Seroquel for treatment in patients with bipolar mania, then bipolar depression and then an extended-release version.
“Doctors are allowed to prescribe drugs for unapproved uses, but drugmakers can’t promote them for those uses.”
AstraZeneca’s drug, Seroquel has brought in $4.5 billion in revenue last year, making Seroquel its number two drug. The company is facing about 15,000 lawsuits over Seroquel.