NC to share in $19.5 million settlement with drug maker over deceptive marketing

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — A major drug making company, Bristol-Myers Squibb, will pay out $19.5 million to North Carolina and other states after they marketed one of their drugs for unapproved uses, Attorney General Roy Cooper announced.

The drug, Abilify, was originally approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 2002 to treat schizophrenia and has since been approved by the FDA to treat other conditions, the attorney general’s office said.

While doctors are allowed to prescribe medications for off-label uses which are not approved by the FDA, companies aren’t allowed to market their drugs for off-label uses. Bristol-Myers Squibb are accused of doing that.

“Misleading drug marketing is unfair to patients and their doctors, especially when it pitches a treatment that may not be safe and effective,” Cooper said. “We’re holding drug companies accountable when their marketing crosses the line.”

Cooper, along with 42 other attorneys generals, reached a settlement with Bristol-Myers Squibb Company to resolve those allegations of unfair and deceptive marketing practices. The company will pay $19.5 million to 43 states, including $663,302 to North Carolina, the attorney general’s office said.

Cooper and other attorney generals said that the company promoted Abilify for uses in kids that were not approved by the FDA, minimized and misrepresented the drug’s risks, and overstated the findings of scientific studies about it.

As part of the settlement, the company will not be allowed to make false or misleading claims about the drug, its safety or efficacy compared to other drugs, and about the implications of clinical studies related to the drug.

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