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Drs. Resign Amid AZ Payment Probe

Two psychiatrists with Terrell State Hospital (TSH) in Texas, U.S., resigned after allegedly receiving hundreds of thousands of dollars from AstraZeneca, according to the Texas Department of State Health Services.

Allegedly the two physicians violated several department rules related to their relationship with AstraZeneca and efforts to have the antipsychotic medication Seroquel XR placed on the state formulary, according to
In October 2014, the Texas Attorney General filed a lawsuit against AstraZeneca, alleging that the company marketed Seroquel for unapproved uses, and paid kickbacks to state health officials and physicians. As a result, the Texas Medicaid program overpaid for the drug and the two doctors wound up the investigation.

The lawsuit states that certain state mental health officials who had “the power to influence formulary decisions within the state hospital system,” were paid $465,000 for their support.

One psychiatrist is accused of receiving more than $231,000 from AstraZeneca for speaking engagements and consulting services. A letter indicates he provided those services at least 166 times between 2005 and 2012.
Under oath, the other psychiatrist described her participation in the company’s plan for her to influence the Executive Formulary Committee. She denies that she agreed to contact members of the Executive Formulary Committee on behalf of AstraZeneca, and indicates she received approval from her supervisor to speak and consult for the company, notes

In a letter, the doctor’s attorney wrote,“She was compensated for her time and expertise as a psychiatrist in giving speeches to professionals on her own personal time.”