British drug maker AstraZeneca has been subpoenaed by two states in conjunction with the sale, safety, and marketing of its antipsychotic Seroquel. Last month, the company received a subpoena from the California Attorney Generalâ€™s office, this one coming shortly after the Alaska Attorney Generalâ€™s office issued its own subpoena. They are also the subject of an informal inquiry by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. The SEC is looking into allegedly improper payments made to doctors and government representatives outside the United States.
Last week, the company announced a 30 percent gain in third-quarter net profit to $1.59 billion, attributing its success in part to expanded use of Seroquel for the treatment of manic bipolar disorder. In 2005, sales of Seroquel totaled about $2.76 billion. Earlier this month, the FDA officially approved the drug for the treatment of bipolar depression. It had already been approved for schizophrenia, and now it is the only drug approved for both depressive and manic bipolar behavior. Seroquel and Nexium, an ulcer drug, account for more than half of AstraZenecaâ€™s sales.