Los Angeles City Attorney Mike Feuer has launched an investigation into the drug manufacturer of Nuedexta, Avanir Pharmaceuticals, in response to the information his office has received regarding improper and potentially illegal activity concerning the sales, prescription, and administration of Nuedexta.
Nuedexta is approved by the FDA to treat pseudobulbar affect (PBA), which is a rare condition that involves uncontrollable laughing and/or crying.
However, Nuedexta is not indicated for the treatment of dementia or Alzheimer’s, even though it is being prescribed in ever-increasing numbers to elderly patients in nursing homes with these conditions. Some have argued that the drug is being improperly prescribed simply to control agitated patients, in spite of the dearth of information on the effects of the drug among the elderly.
Use of Nuedexta has also been shown to have serious medical consequences among those taking the drug, such as hemorrhages, cerebrovascular events, seizures, and even death. More information on this topic can be found in my previous article, “CNN Investigates Over-Prescription of Nuedexta in Nursing Homes.”
The City Attorney’s Office has reason to believe that Avanir may be in violation of state and federal laws given their questionable sales and marketing tactics for Nuedexta. For example, Avanir has allegedly given tens of thousands of dollars to some doctors in order to motivate them to promote the drug.
In addition to Avanir, nursing homes where Nuedexta is often prescribed may also be subjected to investigation by the Los Angeles City Attorney’s Office.
A recent article by CNN titled, “City of Los Angeles opens investigation into drugmaker following CNN report,” provides the following additional information:
The City Attorney’s Office said it is seeking information from family members of those given the drug, former and current Avanir employees, nursing home workers and anyone else with information about Nuedexta or Avanir.
Those interested can call the office’s tip line (213-978-8371) or provide information online.
We will continue to watch for the release of additional information on this topic and report on significant developments as we become aware of them.
Written by: Heather Helmendach, Legal Assistant
Law Offices of Thomas J. Lamb, P.A.
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