AstraZeneca's New Seroquel Ad Has 5 Pages of Legal Disclaimers

Last Updated Jan 11, 2010 3:18 PM EST

With two more legal victories under its belt last week, AstraZeneca (AZN) continued to roll out a new ad campaign for the antipsychotic drug -- one that featured a staggering five pages of side effects and disclaimers. The ads appeared in Time and Newsweek.

AZ won two rulings throwing out lawsuits that alleged Seroquel gave patients weight gain or diabetes, bringing the company's victories to six with no losses in litigation over the $1.2 billion-per-quarter selling drug. Those cases were all in Delaware state judge Joseph Slights III's courtroom. The bulk of the litigation, however, is sitting in Florida federal court.

The new print ad looks as if it, too, was written mainly by lawyers. The first page features a clever image of a woman who seems to be fading into the background under the headline, "Bipolar depression doesn't just affect you. It can consume you."

But the following five pages contain nothing but small print, warning of the drug's side effects. Some of those side effects sound about as bad as the condition the pill is supposed to help:
  • High blood sugar and diabetes
  • Weight gain
  • "potentially fatal" neuroleptic malignant syndrome (fever, rigid muscles, confusion)
  • "tardive dyskinesia (TD) -- uncontrollable movement of the face, tongue, or other parts of the body."
  • Cataracts
  • Suicidal thoughts
  • "Priapism" (in layman's terms, an erection that won't go away.)
BNET first noted the existence of the new campaign in December. Download a full copy of the new ad here.

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