Improper Marketing – Irish drug maker pays out $203.5 million after complaints

The Irish pharmaceutical company Elan agreed to pay $203.5 million in order to resolve criminal and civil complaints which claim that it improperly marketed the antiseizure drug Zonegran for weight loss and mood stabilization.

Elan had reported in July that it was setting aside $206.3 million to resolve the investigation into improper medical marketing. The payment included a $97 million criminal fine.

A Japanese drug maker called, Eisai, also agreed to pay $11 million to end a case against them for off-label marketing of Zonegran. Eisai bought rights to the drug from Elan in 2004.

The cases developed from a 2004 whistle-blower filing by Dr. Lee R. Chartock, a Massachusetts psychiatrist who said he had been approached by Elan and was sent to a conference and asked to prescribe the drug for weight loss.

The whistle-blower will receive more than $10 million from the civil payment as a reward to encourage people to report illegal activity, the government said.

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