December 20, 2017 / 5:20 PM / 10 months ago

Boehringer to pay $13.5 million to resolve U.S. states' drug probe

(Reuters) - Boehringer Ingelheim will pay $13.5 million to resolve claims by state attorneys general that the pharmaceutical company used deceptive and misleading marketing to promote the use of four of its drugs for unapproved purposes.

The settlement was announced on Wednesday by attorneys general in 50 states to resolve allegations centered on how the drugmaker marketed its prescription drugs Aggrenox, Micardis, Atrovent and Combivent.

The allegations mirror claims the drugmaker previously resolved in 2012 as part of a $95 million settlement with the U.S. Justice Department that Boehringer illegally marketed the drugs for unapproved uses.

“Consumers should be able to trust that the advertised benefits of prescription drugs are supported by scientific evidence, not exaggerated claims,” New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said in a statement.

Boehringer did not admit wrongdoing as part of the settlement. In a statement, the company also noted that the alleged conduct ended in 2008.

“Resolving this matter allows us to focus our energy and resources on researching and developing innovative products to improve patients’ lives,” Boehringer said.

The settlement resolves claims that the German drugmaker misrepresented that its stroke prevention drug Aggrenox was effective for treating “below the neck” conditions, including heart attacks and congestive failure.

The attorneys general also alleged that Boehringer misrepresented that Micardis, a drug the U.S. Food and Drug Administration approved to treat hypertension, protected patients from early morning strokes and heart attacks.

The attorneys general said Boehringer also falsely asserted that two drugs to treat airway narrowing associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, Atrovent and Combivent, could be used as higher dosages than their product labels recommended.

Reporting by Nate Raymond in Boston; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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