By CHARLES S. JOHNSON
Attorney General Mike McGrath has sued two national pharmaceutical companies and accused them of manufacturing certain prescription drugs that were “in defective condition and unreasonably dangerous.”
McGrath filed the complaint in state district court in Helena Wednesday against Janssen Pharmaceutica Inc. and AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals LP over their prescription drugs Risperdal and Seroquel, respectively. These medicines were intended to treat adult schizophrenia and short-term treatment of acute mania associated with bipolar disorder.
He charged that the two companies “have engaged in false and misleading marketing, advertising and sales campaigns to promote these drugs for non-medically indicated uses.” McGrath said the companies “successfully deceived physicians, citizen-users and others in the medical community” about the safety of these drugs compared to other antipsychotic drugs in order to carve out a greater market share.
This false promotion of these two atypical antipsychotic drugs have led to some Montanans who faced “serious injuries, illnesses, diseases or death,” McGrath said.
He said the two companies illegally marketed and promoted Risperdal and Seroquel for uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, including treatment of dementia, sleep disorders, depression, attention deficit disorder, autism, depression, mood disorders and others.
That unlawful marketing and promotion turned Risperdal into one of the best-selling prescription drugs last year, with $4.2 billion in sales, McGrath said. Likewise, Seroquel captured 24 percent of the market in 2006, with $3.4 billion in sales to make it AstraZeneca’s top-selling prescription drug, he said…