Monday, April 26, 2010

What's the next step?

Every year I had to complete training as part of the AstraZeneca Corporate Integrity Agreement (CIA) for improper marketing of Zoladex, which cost AZ about $250 million in fines years ago. Now they will enter into another CIA for Seroquel due to additional improper marketing (can you say "sleepoquel?" Google it). Everybody in the company knew that prisoners and nursing home residents were being fed this stuff in sub-therapeutic doses (for psychotic disorders) to keep them sedated. It was obvious from the sales data. So how does management, particularly sales management, get away with simply negotiating a second CIA? Why isn't there any jail time here? $520 million is slightly more than one month's sales of the drug. As a business decision, this was a no-brainer. If the market for off-brand sales is big enough, DO IT! Your stockholders will applaud you. They may even demand it of you.

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