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Jamie Sheller
Jamie Sheller
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Newly Released Documents Raise More Questions Over Seroquel

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In early 2000, Dr. S. Charles Schulz reported to a national medical conference that Seroquel was "significantly superior" to the old preferred schizophrenia treatment. Dr. Schulz is the chief of psychiatry at the University of Minnesota. Seroquel, made by AstraZeneca, is used to treat a variety of psychiatric conditions. In 2000, AstraZeneca used Dr. Schulz’s statement in a press release about Seroquel. However, months before Dr. Schulz’s public statement, AstraZeneca was aware that the research did not support his claims. Internal documents have recently been released in a federal trial in Florida. In a March 2000 internal company analysis of the research data, it was concluded that "It is clear that a claim of superiority for Seroquel over Haloperidol (Haldol) could not be generated using these data." Seroquel is now a blockbuster drug, with annual sales of $4.5 billion today. Many doctors admit that Seroquel works, but do not necessarily believe that it is superior, and it has serious side effects.

In a recent interview, Dr. Schulz stepped back from his 2000 statements, saying that "I think the overall message is that it works about the same." He indicated that he did not mean to assert that Seroquel was more effective. At the time of his 2000 statements, Dr. Schulz’s own study did not show superior benefits of Seroquel. This new information has brought up questions about Dr. Schulz’s role as a paid consultant to AstraZeneca, for which he made at least $88,000 over 10 years.