AstraZeneca settles Texas drug lawsuits for $110 million

FILE PHOTO: The logo of AstraZeneca is seen on medication packages in a pharmacy in London April 28, 2014. REUTERS/Stefan Wermuth

LONDON (Reuters) - Drugmaker AstraZeneca has agreed to pay $110 million to settle two lawsuits brought by the state of Texas claiming that it fraudulently marketed the antipsychotic drug Seroquel and Crestor for high cholesterol.

The largest settlement, totaling $90 million, resolves allegations the drugmaker encouraged doctors to use Seroquel for unapproved uses. A second settlement for $20 million covers allegations it misrepresented the benefits of Crestor.

Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, announcing the settlements, said the alleged actions were “especially disturbing because the well-being of children and the integrity of the state hospital system were jeopardized”.

Texas had sought $5 billion under the lawsuits, claiming the company had falsely and misleadingly marketed the two drugs in violation of the Texas Medicaid Fraud Prevention Act.

AstraZeneca has denied any wrongdoing.

“AstraZeneca makes no concessions or admissions of fault in the settlement agreements,” the group said in a statement.

“While we deny the allegations, it is in the best interests of the company to resolve these matters and to move forward with our business of discovering and developing important, life-changing medicines – while avoiding the delay, uncertainty, and expense of protracted litigation.”

Reporting by Ben Hirschler; editing by Jason Neely