$71M Drug Marketing Settlement Stark Reminder of Big Pharma's Predatory Practices

Amgen Inc. has agreed to a $71 million settlement with 48 attorneys general who accused the corporate drug maker of marketing two of its drugs, both biologic medications, for off-label uses unapproved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. 

The California-based drug manufacturer agreed to a consent judgment Tuesday with the attorney generals after they claimed Amgen marketed Aransep, an anemia drug, for cancer-related anemia without FDA approval, according to a report by Law360.

Amgen was also under fire for promoting its drug Enbrel to treat mild plaque psoriasis – an auto-immune problem that causes skin cells to flake and scale – though the drug is only approved for more serious forms of the condition, Law360 reported.

Aggressive, Off-Label Marketing by Drug Companies

Unfortunately, aggressive, off-label marketing is far too common in the world of Big Pharma. According to a recent report on HBO’s Last Week Tonight, nine out of 10 Big Pharma corporations now spend more on selling their drugs than they do researching them.

Testosterone therapy is a prime example of marketing run amok. Manufacturers of testosterone therapies, such as AndroGel, are facing thousands of civil lawsuits alleging the drug giants spent billions on so-called “disease-awareness campaigns” to promote the drugs for off-label uses.

Testosterone prescriptions increased nearly tenfold in 2007 when Abbott Laboratories, now AbbVie, launched its award-winning “Is It Low-T?” disease awareness campaign, urging millions of middle-aged men to ask their doctors whether low testosterone could be the cause of weight gain, bad moods and low sex drive – symptoms associated with the natural aging process.

Similarly, drug giant GlaxoSmith Kline is facing a mounting number of lawsuits alleging the off-label use of its anti-nausea drug Zofran to treat symptoms of morning sickness caused birth defects. Zofran was approved in the United States in 1991 to treat patients who experience nausea and vomiting from surgery or chemotherapy and radiation treatment, but increasingly doctors have prescribed Zofran off-label to treat extreme morning sickness during the first trimester of pregnancy.

Far too many times, these big drug corporations prey on patients by marketing complex and potentially deadly drugs to them for non-approved uses. How big does the price tag have to be for enough to be enough?

Contact Langdon & Emison

Langdon & Emison is handling a number of cases on behalf of clients suffering from the effects of testosterone therapies, Zofran and other prescription drugs. For more information or for a free case evaluation, contact Langdon & Emison at 800-397-4910 or click here.