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Japan: Astrazeneca settles claims over cancer drug side effects

Date: 12 Jan 2011

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Astrazeneca will settle with 15 people who brought a suit against it and the government claiming that the company hadn't taken enough measures in the face of major side effects from its cancer drug Iressa.

The plaintiffs, patients and families of patients killed by the drug's side effects, had sought 180m yen in compensation.

The settlement was encouraged by the Tokyo and Osaka district courts, which said that Astrazeneca had a responsibility to support patients that had been prescribed Iressa between July and October 2002. The government should also take responsibility for approving imports of the drug.

Iressa was approved by the US Food and Drugs Administration in 2003, but placed on a more restrictive regime when an ongoing study failed to show a survival benefit from the drug's use.

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