AstraZeneca sales-rep notes reveal troubling relationship with doctors

It can sometimes be tough to get a straight answer about any potential problems with drugs from the companies that make them, if court records are any guide. AstraZeneca (AZN) told American doctors the company's antipsychotic drug Seroquel didn't cause diabetes, despite alerting Japanese physicians to such a link four years earlier, according to court documents unsealed at the request of Bloomberg News.

AstraZeneca now faces lawsuits from more than 15,000 patients saying the company withheld information about links between diabetes and Seroquel. The lawsuits also say the Anglo-Swedish drugmaker promoted Seroquel, approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration for schizophrenia and bipolar disorder, for unapproved uses. The cases have been consolidated in Orlando for pre-trial proceedings. That drug reps are often less than comprehensive about disclosing the potential risks of their drugs is often more the norm than the exception, highlighting an unfortunate reality about how drugs are sold and ultimately prescribed to patients.