Multi-state settlement reached with drug maker

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette last week announced that Michigan will benefit from a $105 million multi-state settlement to resolve allegations that GlaxoSmithKline unlawfully promoted its asthma drug, Advair, and antidepressant drugs, Paxil and Wellbutrin.

The Complaint and Consent Judgment filed in Ingham County Circuit Court alleges that GlaxoSmithKline violated state consumer protection laws by misrepresenting the uses and qualities of these drugs.

"Patients should always come before profits," said Schuette. "Michigan consumers shouldn't have to wonder whether financial incentives are negatively influencing their medical care. This settlement will help put an end to the pharmaceutical companies' practice of promoting their drugs for uses that haven't been approved by the FDA, and ensure patient safety comes first."

The settlement signals a major change in the way pharmaceutical sales teams are motivated and paid for the ultimate benefit of consumers. The Consent Judgment entered today requires GSK to continue its Patient First Program for five years, through March 2019. The Patient First Program reduces financial incentives for sales representatives to engage in deceptive marketing.

In addition, the settlement requires scientifically trained personnel to be ultimately responsible for developing and approving responses to health care provider questions and for these responses to be unbiased and non-promotional. GSK is also prohibited from disseminating information that describes any off-label use of a GSK product, unless such information and materials are consistent with applicable FDA regulations.

Schuette recovered $2,618,677.07 of the settlement, which will go toward the State's General Fund.

The settlement will add to the more than $127.3 million recovered from drug companies by Schuette and his Health Care Fraud Division (HCFD) since he took office in 2011, resulting from criminal restitution orders, civil judgments, court orders and settlements requiring the return of funds to the Medicaid Program.

Published: Thu, Jun 05, 2014