AstraZeneca Nexium Marketing

Case Settled

The court has granted final approval to a $20 million settlement on behalf of Massachusetts consumers and payers on Aug. 26, 2013. AstraZeneca agreed to settle the case shortly before trial was set to continue. View settlement

Hagens Berman filed a lawsuit on behalf of consumers who purchased Nexium. The suit contends that the drug's distributor, AstraZeneca (NYSE: AZN), conspired to redirect consumer loyalty from their highly profitable heartburn medication, Prilosec, to Nexium before Prilosec's patent expired and generic competition drove the price down.

According to the suit, AstraZeneca deceived consumers through a misleading advertising campaign, designed to convince consumers that Nexium was a new and improved heartburn drug.

The suit states that throughout AstraZeneca's advertising for Nexium, it alluded to clinical trials that proved Nexium's effectiveness over Prilosec. However, the trials referred to only tested Nexium at levels twice that of Prilosec, and thus were not a true indication of Nexium's effectiveness.

As detailed in the complaint, Nexium is a "mirror compound" of Prilosec, containing the same active molecule found in Prilosec. The suit contends that there is no evidence to support that Nexium is substantially better than Prilosec.

According to the suit, AstraZeneca's plan proved profitable. As generic competition drove the price for Prilosec down, sales for Nexium rose to $3.3 billion by 2003. Currently, Prilosec can be obtained over the counter and costs about one-eighth of the cost of Nexium.


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08/29/13: Case Settled

The court has granted final approval to a $20 million settlement on behalf of Massachusetts consumers and payers on Aug. 26, 2013. AstraZeneca agreed to settle the case shortly before trial was set to continue. View settlement

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