Acadiana Business

AG goes after health care giant GlaxoSmithKline - again

by Leslie Turk

Louisiana AG Buddy Caldwell claims British company illegally promoted Paxil, Wellbutrin, Advair, Lamictal, Zofran, Imitrex, Lotronex, Flovent and Valtrex.

Attorney General Buddy Caldwell said Wednesday that he has filed a lawsuit on behalf of the state against British health care giant GlaxoSmithKline LLC over its illegal promotion of the drugs Paxil, Wellbutrin, Advair, Lamictal, Zofran, Imitrex, Lotronex, Flovent and Valtrex for off-label, non-covered uses in violation of state laws.

The lawsuit, filed Tuesday in Baton Rouge, has been assigned to Judge Janice Clark of the 19th Judicial District Court.

"GSK's egregious conduct and greed caused fraudulent claims to be submitted to the Louisiana Medicaid Program," Caldwell said in a press release.

Louisiana Department of Health and Hospitals Secretary Bruce D. Greenstein said he stands with Caldwell in his fight against this company's allegedly fraudulent practices and dangerous promotion of off-label and non-covered prescription drug use.

This is the second suit Caldwell has filed against GSK on behalf of Louisiana. The first was filed in February 2011 over its diabetes drug Avandia and claims GSK defrauded the Louisiana Medicaid Program by illegally marketing, pricing and promoting Avandia. It further alleges GSK violated Louisiana's consumer protection and unfair trade practices laws.

That case is set for trial in June before Judge Clark.