On Friday, AstraZeneca Plc informed that it has agreed to a $26 million settlement with the state of South Carolina to bury the lawsuit accusing it of misleading consumers about the risks associated with Seroquel, the anti-psychotic drug. According to court papers, the settlement of the lawsuit, which had been filed in 2009, was reached on Wednesday, last week.
A spokesman for AstraZeneca, Tony Jowell, said in a statement on Friday, “After years of costly litigation, we decided that settling this case was the appropriate way to resolve the matter and allow the company to focus on our core mission of delivering meaningful medicines to patients.”
The deputy attorney general of South Carolina, Bryan Stirling, said the agreement included “a total settlement of all claims.”
The settlement is the most recent one in an all out effort by AstraZeneca to stop regulatory probes into its sales and marketing related to Seroquel. In March 2011, AstraZeneca had agreed to a $68.5 million settlement with 37 states. In 2010, it had reached a $520 million settlement with federal regulators including the DOJ over its off-label marketing of Seroquel.
Seven states including South Carolina did not join the earlier settlement and continued to pursue their own claims. Since then, Astra Zeneca has settled with six states including South Colorado being the latest. The suit by Mississippi is still pending.
Earlier in August, the company claimed reaching settlements with New Mexico and Utah. However, the agreements are to be finalized, and a spokesman for the New Mexico attorney general said, “there is a tentative settlement in place.”
The case is State of South Carolina v. AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals, LP, et al, Court of Common Pleas for the Seventh Judicial Circuit in South Carolina, 2009-CP-42-00097.