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Mass. receives $2.1M in drug co. settlement

GlaxoSmithKline will pay Massachusetts $2.1 million to resolve allegations that it unlawfully promoted a popular asthma medication and two antidepressant drugs, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced.

The Attorney General’s Office joined 44 other states in the $105 million settlement with GSK to resolve allegations that the company violated state consumer protection laws by deceptively marketing off-label uses of the asthma drug Advair and antidepressant drugs Paxil and Wellbutrin, which were not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for patients for whom the drugs were not safe and effective.

As part of a consent judgment filed in Suffolk Superior Court, GSK is required to continue its Patient First Program at least through March 2019. The program eliminates any incentive compensation to sales representatives based on the volume of sales, reducing the incentives for sales representatives to engage in deceptive marketing.

In addition, the consent judgment requires GSK to reform how it markets and promotes Advair, Paxil, Wellbutrin, and GSK’s other antidepressant drugs.

In November 2012, Coakley joined 37 states in a $90 million settlement with GSK, resolving allegations that the pharmaceutical company unlawfully promoted its diabetes drug Avandia. That settlement was in addition to a settlement announced in July 2012 in which Coakley obtained more than $35 million from GSK on behalf of the Massachusetts Medicaid Program due to the unlawful marketing of a number of drugs, including Advair, Paxil, and Wellbutrin.

Assistant Attorney General Eric M. Gold of Coakley’s Health Care Division handled the settlement for the commonwealth.

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