Attorney General Laxalt Announces $13.5 Million Bipartisan Multistate Settlement with 50 States Concerning Deceptive Promotion of Prescription Drugs

December 20, 2017

Carson City, NV – Today, Nevada Attorney General Adam Paul Laxalt, along with 49 other states and the District of Columbia, announced a $13.5 million settlement with Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals, Inc. (BIPI). The bipartisan multistate settlement resolves allegations of off-label marketing, and deceptive and misleading representations made in its promotion of four prescription drugs: Micardis®, Aggrenox®, Atrovent® and Combivent®. Nevada is designated to receive $291,783.88 from this settlement.

    As a result of the multistate investigation, the states allege that BIPI misrepresented their four prescription drugs in the following ways:

      • Its antiplatelet drug, Aggrenox®, was effective for many conditions “below the neck” such as heart attacks and congestive heart failure. Additionally, BIPI’s claim of superiority to Plavix® was not supported by objective evidence;

        • Its drug Micardis® protected patients from early morning strokes and heart attacks and treated metabolic syndrome;

          • Its drug Combivent® could be used as a first-line treatment for bronchospasms associated with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD); and

            • Its drug Atrovent® and Combivent® were essential for the treatment of COPD, and could be used at doses that exceeded the maximum dosage recommendation in the product labeling.

              “This settlement illustrates my commitment to protecting consumers and healthcare patients,” said AG Laxalt. “Deciding whether to prescribe a drug has a direct impact on patient care, and doctors must be able to rely on truthful, unbiased representations about the qualities and effectiveness of drugs when making these decisions. I am proud of the attorneys within my Bureau of Consumer Protection who participated on the Executive Committee to ensure that Nevada took a more active role in the investigation and resolution of this case.”

                Under the terms of the consent judgement, BIPI is required to ensure that its marketing and promotional practices do not unlawfully promote these prescription drug products. Specifically, BIPI 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.

                          All 50 states and the District of Columbia participated in this settlement. Chief Deputy Attorney General Jo Ann Gibbs and Senior Deputy Attorney General Lucas Tucker of the Attorney General’s Bureau of Consumer Protection represented Nevada in this matter.