(BOISE) – Idaho Attorney General Lawrence Wasden has announced that Idaho and 49 other states have reached a $13.5 million settlement with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI). The deal resolves off-label marketing and alleged deceptive and misleading representations BIPI made in its promotion of four prescription drugs: Micardis®, Aggrenox®, Atrovent®, and Combivent®.
Idaho’s share of the settlement is $150,761. The money will be deposited into Idaho’s Consumer Protection Fund. The consent judgment is subject to approval by the Ada County District Court.
“I hope this settlement serves as a reminder to other drug makers to always be truthful in their marketing,” Wasden says. “When it comes to the health of Idahoans, I’ll never look favorably upon drug companies being less than honest about their products.”
The settlement resolves allegations that BIPI engaged in unfair, deceptive, or misleading practices by making misrepresentations about the four drugs. The company was alleged to have represented that the prescription drugs had sponsorship, approval, characteristics, ingredients, uses, benefits, quantities, or qualities that they did not have.
Specifically, the states alleged BIPI had:
- Misrepresented that its antiplatelet drug, Aggrenox®, was effective for conditions such as heart attacks and congestive heart failure, and that it was superior to Plavix® without evidence to substantiate the claims;
- misrepresented that Micardis® protected patients from early morning strokes and heart attacks and treated metabolic syndrome;
- misrepresented that Combivent® could be used as a first-line treatment for bronchospasms associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); and
- falsely stated that Atrovent® and Combivent® could be used at doses that exceeded the maximum dosage recommendation in the product labeling and that they were essential for treatment of COPD.
The consent judgment requires that BIPI follow lawful marketing practices when promoting these prescription drug products. Specifically, the company will:
- Limit product sampling of the four drugs to health care providers whose clinical practice is consistent with the product labeling;
- refrain from offering financial incentives for sales that may indicate off-label use of any of the four drugs;
- ensure clinically relevant information is provided in an unbiased manner that is distinct from promotional materials; and
- provide that requests for off-label information regarding any of the four drugs are referred to BIPI’s Medical Division.