Maker of antidepressants to pay $1.2 million to Maine as part of $105 million settlement in bribery case

A British Airways airplane flies past a sign for pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in London.
LUKE MACGREGOR | REUTERS
A British Airways airplane flies past a sign for pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline in London.
Posted June 04, 2014, at 5:25 p.m.

SAN FRANCISCO — GlaxoSmithKline, Britain’s largest drugmaker, will pay $105 million to settle claims from California, New York and more than 40 other states — including Maine — that it illegally promoted asthma and antidepressant drugs.

Maine Attorney General Janet Mills said through a spokesman on Wednesday that Maine will receive about $1.2 million of the settlement in the coming months and that the money will be used for health-related programs that have not yet been identified.

Glaxo will be prohibited under the accord from providing incentive payments to salespeople that encourage off-label drug uses, and from using paid doctors to promote its products.

The agreement, announced Wednesday by California Attorney General Kamala Harris, covers the asthma drug Advair and two antidepressant drugs, Paxil and Wellbutrin. California’s portion of the settlement, the largest of any state, is $7.1 million, Harris said in a statement.

Announcement of the accord comes about a week after Glaxo said it faces a criminal probe in Britain after allegations in China that its employees bribed doctors, hospitals and medical associations to boost sales. Allegations also have surfaced of wrongdoing by company employees in Iraq, Poland, Jordan and Lebanon. The Justice Department began looking in 2010 into whether Glaxo and other drugmakers violated a U.S. law against bribing officials in foreign countries.

Legal documents describing the attorneys general settlement were scheduled to be filed Wednesday in state court in San Diego, according to Harris’ statement. London-based Glaxo violated California consumer protection laws by misrepresenting the uses and qualities of certain drugs, according to Harris.

The settlement requires GlaxoSmithKline to “pay a significant penalty and imposes strong new rules designed to prevent future misrepresentations,” Harris said.

Other states participating in the settlement include Alabama, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Utah, Vermont, Virginia, Washington, Wisconsin and Wyoming. The District of Columbia is also part of the agreement.

BDN State House Bureau Chief Christopher Cousins contributed to this report.

 

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