Rutledge Part of $19.5 Million Bristol-Myers Squibb Settlement

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December 08, 2016

LITTLE ROCK – Arkansas Attorney General Leslie Rutledge has reached a settlement, along with 41 other states and the District of Columbia, with Bristol-Myers Squibb. The settlement ends a multistate investigation into unfair or deceptive trade practices with marketing the company's prescription drug, Abilify, an antipsychotic medication.

Arkansas will receive $292,036 from the settlement, which will be deposited into the Consumer Education and Enforcement Fund.

“The deceitful actions by Bristol-Myers Squibb were unlawful and irresponsible,” said Attorney General Rutledge. “Arkansans needing antipsychotic medications have a level of trust in the companies making these drugs, and unfortunately Bristol-Myers Squibb misrepresented Abilify with their marketing practices.”

The Federal Drug Administration originally approved Abilify in 2002 for treating schizophrenia. The complaint alleges the company was marketing the medication to dementia and Alzheimer’s patients, despite receiving a “black box” warning in 2006 that elderly patients with dementia-related psychosis who are treated with antipsychotic drugs, like Abilify, have an increased risk of death. The complaint also alleges that the company promoted Abilify for use in children, which was not approved by the Federal Drug Administration.

Under the settlement, Bristol-Myers Squibb will be prohibited from making false or misleading claims about Abilify, its safety and the implications of clinical studies relating to the drug. They are also subject to limitations on financial incentives to sales representatives and health care providers, dissemination of information that may promote off-label use of Abilify, and other practices affecting off-label promotion.

In addition to Arkansas, the multistate group – led by Maryland and Kentucky – includes Alabama, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, District of Columbia, Florida, Georgia, Hawaii, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Louisiana, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Montana, Nebraska , Nevada, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Ohio, Oklahoma, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, West Virginia and Wisconsin.

About Attorney General Leslie Rutledge

Leslie Carol Rutledge is the 56th Attorney General of Arkansas. She is the first woman and first Republican in Arkansas history to be elected to the office. Since taking office, she has begun a Mobile Office program, a Military and Veterans Initiative, a Metal Theft Prevention program and a Cooperative Disability Investigations program. She has led efforts to teach Internet safety, combat domestic violence and make the office the top law firm for Arkansans. Rutledge also serves on the Executive Committee of the Republican Attorneys General Association and re-established and co-chairs the National Association of Attorneys General Committee on Agriculture.

A native of Batesville, she is a graduate of the University of Arkansas and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law. Rutledge clerked for the Arkansas Court of Appeals, was Deputy Counsel for Gov. Mike Huckabee, served as a Deputy Prosecuting Attorney in Lonoke County and subsequently was an Attorney at the Department of Human Services before serving as Counsel at the Republican National Committee. Rutledge and her husband, Boyce, have a home in Pulaski County and a farm in Crittenden County.