Life Sciences

Florida judge dismisses RICO case against AstraZeneca

Pharma Compliance Alert, November 19, 2008

AstraZeneca will not face racketing charges related to its promotion of the antipsychotic Seroquel after federal judge Anne Conway dismissed a class action lawsuit filed by union health benefit funds.

The funds sued the drug maker under the Racketeering Influenced Corrupt Organizations (RICO) act, claiming AstraZeneca tricked the funds into paying for Seroquel by misrepresenting its safety and effectiveness. In her ruling, Conway said establishing the claims would require interviewing each physician about each relationship mentioned in the lawsuit.

“This individualized inquiry would likely have to be conducted with regard to each consumer purchase transaction or third-party reimbursement payment made over the last approximately 10 years,” Conway wrote.

Eli Lilly wasn’t as fortunate earlier this year. In September, US District Court Judge Jack Weinstein ruled insurers, labor unions, and pension funds could proceed with a RICO case against Lilly for its antipsychotic Zyprexa.


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