published Thursday, June 5th, 2014

Region part of $105 million drug settlement

Tennessee, Georgia and Alabama are among 44 states that have reached a $105 million settlement with pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline over the asthma drug Advair and antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin.

In a news release, Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens said the settlement "signals a major change in the way pharmaceutical sales teams are motivated and paid" and that it will work "to the ultimate benefit of consumers."

He said the consent judgment filed today alleges that GlaxoSmithKline violated state consumer protection laws by misrepresenting the uses and qualities of the drugs.

“We are committed to stopping illegal marketing practices by businesses that put their own interests before what is best for their customers,” settlement administrator John Sours said in the release. “This conduct is especially pernicious because it involves the long-term and widespread distribution of powerful drugs, which were repeatedly and carelessly disseminated for many years.”

Under the settlment, GlaxoSmithKline may not make false or misleading claims about its products; provide samples to health-care professionals for off-label use; or violate FDA regulations and guidance to market its products for off-label use.

“GlaxoSmithKline put Georgia consumers at risk by inappropriately promoting drugs for uses which were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration,” Olens said in the release. “My office worked closely with the Governor’s Office of Consumer Protection to ensure that the company is held accountable for its misleading marketing practices. We will continue to collaborate in order to protect Georgia consumers from unfair business conduct.”

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