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Brandweek: "AstraZeneca Opens Internal Probe Into Sales Tactics"

AstraZeneca Opens Internal Probe Into Sales Tactics
April 13, 2007
By Jim Edwards

NEW YORK -- AstraZeneca late Friday confirmed that it had started an internal investigation into allegations that one of its regional sales directors had broken “sales practices and compliance issues” in the marketing of its cancer drug, Arimidex.

The allegations were raised by a mysterious “Group of 7” anonymous whistleblowers within AZ who have been e-mailing bloggers and reporters all last week with remarkably specific allegations about how AZ staff were asked to promote Arimidex, which has sales of $1.5 billion a year.

The investigation stems from the April 6 firing of Michael Zubillaga, a regional sales director who published a corporate newsletter describing cancer doctors’ offices as being like "a big bucket of money.” The newsletter encouraged AZ’s drug reps to “reach your hand in the bucket and grab a handful. The more times you are in, the more money goes in your pocket.”

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