California Attorney General Xavier Becerra announced Wednesday that his office had joined a $13.5 million multistate settlement with prescription drugmaker Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals over deceptive and misleading marketing of its products.
An investigation involving 50 state AG offices resolves allegations that Boehringer Ingelheim claimed its drugs could treat life-threatening conditions – heart attacks, congestive heart failure, strokes and the like – without evidence to substantiate those claims. The public received misinformation about the uses and efficacy of pharmaceuticals such as the blood pressure medication Micardis, the stroke drug Aggrenox and a medication called Combivent typically used by people with asthma and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
“It is unacceptable for any drug company to put profits over patient health,” Becerra said in a prepared statement. “Everyone deserves to have accurate and medically sound information about the medicines they are prescribed.”
The settlement must be paid within 30 days of judicial approval, said Jennifer Molina, a spokesperson from the California Department of Justice. California’s share, which amounts to $857,000, will go toward defraying the costs of the investigation and enforcement of consumer protection laws.
Boehringer Ingelheim, which reported revenue of 15.9 billion euros in 2016, is based about 20 miles west of Frankfurt, Germany. It ranks as one of the world’s 20 largest pharmaceutical companies with roughly 48,000 employees.