Unsealed Documents Show Pharmaceutical Company Buried Unfavorable Studies on Seroquel

By March 17, 2009Dangerous Drugs

An email sent by an official at drug maker AstraZeneca admits that the company suppressed three clinical trials of its drug Seroquel because of unfavorable results, Bloomberg News reported Feb. 27. The message was revealed as part of an ongoing series of pharmaceutical injury lawsuits alleging that AstraZeneca knowingly failed to warn customers that Seroquel could cause diabetes and related health problems. In the December 1999 message, AstraZeneca official John Tumas told colleagues that the company “cherry-picked” data from one Seroquel study and failed outright to publicize two others that were unfavorable to its product.
Seroquel, an “atypical” antipsychotic, is approved to treat schizophrenia and bipolar disorder. Originally thought of as a vast improvement over older psychiatric medications, it came under fire in 2004, when a group of medical research organizations named it as one of six antipsychotics (along with Risperdal and Zyprexa) that promote diabetes, high cholesterol and obesity. At least 9,000 lawsuits have been filed alleging that AstraZeneca failed to warn patients of this risk. Many also allege that the company promoted its drug for illegal off-label uses. Spokesman Tony Jewell told Bloomberg News that the company acted responsibly and appropriately in its research and marketing.
The unsealed documents suggest that not everyone agrees, according to Bloomberg. In the 1999 email, Tumas chastised company officials for not disclosing the full results of the “cherry-picked” study, suggesting that the company’s reputation for ethical behavior was in danger. In another unsealed message, AstraZeneca official Richard Lawrence said the company had engaged in a “great smoke-and-mirrors job” with U.S. and Canadian regulators. And documents from 2000 show that company officials knew that the drug was linked to high blood-sugar levels, even though a 2000 FDA filing from the company said it had no documented evidence of a relationship between Seroquel and diabetes.
Carey, Danis & Lowe is actively pursuing lawsuits over injuries from taking Zyprexa, another of the atypical antipsychotics under fire for its connection with diabetes. If you or someone you care about has developed diabetes, obesity or another serious health problem from taking Seroquel, we would like to hear from you. In a successful defective drug injury lawsuit, you can win compensation for all medical bills related to an injury from Seroquel, as well as compensation for living with a serious health condition caused in part by a company’s failure to warn you of the dangers. Based in St. Louis, Missouri, the firm represents people with serious defective drug injuries around the U.S. To set up a free, confidential consultation, please call toll-free at 1-877-678-3400 or contact us online.