Sunday, February 28, 2010

Anti-seizure drug promotion faces legal fire

I can't recall ever seeing Neurontin being used for a seizure disorder. It's one of the few drugs I can think of that is almost exclusively used off-label.

From CBC News:
A lawsuit over the anti-seizure drug Neurontin began in the United States on Monday, with patients, insurance companies and unions accusing the drug manufacturer of aggressively marketing it as pain medication, an unapproved use.

Neurontin, also known by its generic name gabapentin, is approved for use in Canada and the United States to help control epileptic seizures.

Doctors in both countries prescribe gabapentin to control pain. Canadian doctors wrote two million prescriptions for the drug or its generic versions in 2009.

In 2004, Pfizer subsidiary Warner-Lambert settled a lawsuit filed by federal and state drug programs over the marketing of gabapentin, admitting it fraudulently promoted the drug. Pfizer paid $430 million US in penalties and fines, including $152 million to reimburse the drug programs, which had covered the drugs. ...more

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