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Remarks as Prepared for Delivery By Attorney General Eric Holder at the AstraZeneca Settlement Announcement
Date:4/27/2010

WASHINGTON, April 27 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The following are remarks as prepared for delivery by Attorney General Eric Holder:

"Over the past 15 months, Secretary Sebelius and I have made it a top priority of both our Departments to crack down on health care fraud, which we know costs taxpayers billions of dollars each year.  Through our Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team, or HEAT, we have brought the full resources of the federal government to bear against individuals and corporations who illegally divert taxpayer resources for their own gain.

"Today, we are here to announce the latest results of that effort.  The pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca has agreed to pay $520 million to federal and state taxpayers to settle claims that it illegally marketed the anti-psychotic drug Seroquel for uses that were not approved as safe and effective by the Food and Drug Administration.  As part of this scheme, AstraZeneca was accused of illegally promoting Seroquel to physicians and violating the federal Anti-Kickback statute, all in furtherance of supporting the drug's use for a host of illnesses for which it was never approved.

"According to the settlement, AstraZeneca's illegal marketing of the drug led to millions of dollars in false claims against federal and state programs like Medicare and Medicaid. 

"These were not victimless crimes – illegal acts by pharmaceutical companies and false claims against Medicare and Medicaid can put the public health at risk, corrupt medical decisions by health care providers, and take billions of dollars directly out of taxpayers' pockets. 

"As we have said, we will not let such act
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SOURCE U.S. Department of Justice
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