AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical Law

AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical Law Suit Over Labeling

The Case Against AstraZeneca

AstraZeneca Pharmaceutical LawThe London-based, global pharmaceutical known as AstraZeneca is the world’s seventh-largest pharmaceutical company. The company was quoted at a worth of around 54.8 billion pounds back in August. AstraZeneca produces pharmaceuticals that deal with everything from cancer to respiratory disorders. While the company has produced drugs that are life-saving and life-changing for a wide variety of people across the globe, not all of AstraZeneca’s products have been a success. In fact, some could even be qualified as a failure. AstraZeneca’s newest medical and legal snafu comes in the form of a small pill known as rosuvastatin, more commonly referred to as Crestor.


Crestor was intended for use by the public along with diet and exercise to treat high cholesterol. The underlying purpose was to treat patients at a high risk of developing cardiovascular disease. Crestor came in as the fourth-highest selling drug in the United States back in 2013. The drug made $5.2 billion in sales in 2013 in the United States alone. The drug was never intended to help patients lose weight, but instead was directed at treating high cholesterol in patients whose weight loss did not do the trick.

As early as 2004, however, petitions were filed in the United States requesting that Crestor be withdrawn from the United States marketplace. The U.S. Food and Drug Administration responded on March 11, 2005 stating that there was no basis for concern regarding the drug in comparison with other drugs in the United States market.

Texas Joins the Debate

Fast forward to 2015 and Texas now finds itself in the legal battle against AstraZeneca. This past month, Texas joined in a legal dispute against AstraZeneca alleging the company violated the False Claims Act with regards to the marketing of Crestor. During his final days before moving on to the governor’s office, former Attorney General Greg Abbott joined a live lawsuit against AstraZeneca. The case was brought by whistleblowers under the False Claims Act and alleged that the company misled Texas’ Medicaid program. Allegedly this misleading marketing caused Texas to place Crestor on the Medicaid program’s Preferred Drug List, which directly led to more doctors prescribing Crestor to their patients. Abbott claimed that Crestor was wrongfully marketed by AstraZeneca as a drug that could reverse plaque buildup and reduce the risk of death better even than other drugs on the market.

Current Status

On February 4, 2015 the defendants petitioned to remove the case to U.S. District Court or to the Western District of Texas in Austin. The petition argued that the plaintiffs asserted only state law claims but the validity of those claims is predicated on the complex federal scheme governing the labeling and marketing of prescription drugs and the coverage and reimbursement for prescription drugs under Medicaid. In Delaware a similar legal battle is underway, in which the United States government has declined to intervene. AstraZeneca maintains that it did not engage in misleading advertising because they promoted the drug for the regression of atherosclerosis and the drug was medically accepted to reduce general atherosclerosis.

Our team at Brownstone Law wishes Texas’ new Attorney General Ken Paxton the best of luck managing this complex lawsuit and keeping our pharmaceutical market safe for all.

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