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Nevada to get $1.1 million as part of drug settlement

Nevada will receive $1.1 million as part of a $65.8 million multistate settlement with AstraZeneca Pharmaceuticals over alleged improper marketing of the antipsychotic drug Seroquel, Attorney General Catherine Cortez Masto’s office said Thursday.

Masto and 37 attorneys general reached the settlement with London-based AstraZeneca. Masto’s office said the states’ complaint accuses AstraZeneca of unfairly and deceptively marketing Seroquel for off-label uses unapproved by the federal Food and Drug Administration and failing to adequately disclose the drug’s potential side effects to health care providers.

The Associated Press notes that although Seroquel is approved to treat schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and depression, the majority of prescriptions are for off-label uses like insomnia. The drug, approved in 1997, is AstraZeneca’s second-best-selling product, yielding U.S. sales of $5.3 billion last year, the AP said. But the company has been accused frequently of illegally marketing the drug and downplaying its risks.

The AP notes that Seroquel’s side effects, which include weight gain, uncontrollable muscle spasms and blood sugar increases, have led to thousands of lawsuits from patients. AstraZeneca had settled nearly 25,000 personal injury lawsuits related to Seroquel at the end of 2010, with 3,950 remaining, the AP said

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