Judge: Whistleblower Suit Against AstraZeneca Must Proceed
A federal judge said a whistleblower suit alleging false claims by AstraZeneca must proceed to trial.
The suit, U.S. ex rel. Allison Zayas v. AstraZeneca — involving more than two dozen states — claims AstraZeneca knew of the risks in prescribing its antipsychotic drug Seroquel with medications that can produce a dangerous heart arrhythmia, and did so anyway. The plaintiffs also alleged that AstraZeneca disregarded two Corporate Integrity Agreements with the federal government in failing to disclose the risk.
Judge Frederick Block, for the District Court for the Eastern District of New York, rejected the drugmaker’s motion to dismiss the case entirely, ruling that the accusations met the pleading standard required under the False Claims Act, allowing the suit to go forward. However, Block granted AstraZeneca’s request to dismiss claims that it promoted off-label uses of Seroquel; that case against the company was already filed in a Delaware federal court.