October 22, 2004
Consumer group sues over Nexium ads
A consumer group has filed a lawsuit against AstraZeneca in California, claiming marketing of AZ's Nexium is deceptive. The suit, filed in California Superior Court in Los Angeles, alleges that AstraZeneca used misleading information to convince consumers Nexium was a significantly better drug than Prilosec in an effort to redirect loyalty. "AstraZeneca knew that with the expiration of their Prilosec patent, [it] would lose market share and profits. We intend to show that they initiated a plan to deceive consumers and recoup those lost revenues," said Steve Berman, lead attorney for the plaintiffs. "This suit is a response to their deception and is a message to AstraZeneca and all pharmaceutical companies that they will be accountable to consumers for
AstraZeneca refutes the allegations stating that the data backs up claims made in the consumer ads.
"There is a clear difference with Nexium – better acid control and better healing," said Michele Meeker, an AstraZeneca spokeswoman. "The data we have supports that."
The Nexium consumer campaign was created by New York-based Saatchi & Saatchi, a unit of Publicis. A Publicis spokeswoman had no comment regarding the lawsuit.
The suit was filed by the Prescription Access Litigation Project (PAL), comprised of
American Federation of Labor – Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) the Congress of California Seniors, and the California Alliance for Retired Americans.