If you are new to this story, please take a look at my handy print-out-and-keep AZ Bucket of Money Scandal Timeline!
June 20, 2003: AstraZeneca settles with Office of the Inspector General in Zoladex cancer drug probe. Agrees to abide by CIA controlling AZ’s promotional code of conduct.
April 27, 2006: AZ announces deal with Abraxis to co-promote Abraxane cancer drug.
Oct. 1, 2006: NYT reports that Abraxane, at $4,200 a dose, is “about 25 times as much as a generic version of the older medicine, which is best known by its brand name, Taxol.”
Early November 2006: According to anonymous emails from the Group of 7: AZ Oncology district meeting for Pittsburgh and Harrisburgh territories in Bedford PA takes place. Group of 7 alleges Zubillaga instructed reps to discuss with docs off-label use of Faslodex/fulvestrant; solicit doctors to discuss w/ Regional Scientific Manager (Medical Science Liaison) cardiovascular side effects of our competitor Femara/letrozole; instructed reps not to use voicemails or emails and to only use cell phones when discussing this.
Mid-November 2006: Group of 7 claims it calls the AZ Code of Conduct line to complain.
November 2006: Group of 7 claim they send the OIG a complaint about possible violations of its Zoladex CIA agreement.
Mid December 2006: Group of 7 alleges that shortly after it became known that someone called the Code of Conduct hotline about the meeting, Zubillaga demoted the district manager and dissolved the district “despite some of the best sales in the country”.
December 2006: According to the Group of 7: A joint sales meeting takes place in Pittsburgh with Abraxis to discuss co-promotion of Abraxane. Off-label issues allegedly discussed. Attendees urged to communicate by cellphone only, no email no voicemail. Also attending: 7 oncology docs.
December 2006: Group of 7 claims a code of conduct report was made via an AZ phone after this meeting.
Winter 2007: Zubillaga publishes newsletter in which he compares cancer docs offices to buckets of money and refers to selling “against” letrozole (Novartis’ Femara)—which would be a violation of the code of conduct controlled by the Zoldex CIA.
Jan. 2007: Matt Lehman, Brand Director of Arimidex, sends memo comparing letrozole/Femara to Arimidex, according to a copy of the memo.
Feb. 10 2007: Arimidex PowerPoint slideshow created and distributed internally at AZ. The slides compare Arimidex to Femara.
April 5, 2007: A copy of the Bucket of Money newsletter is leaked to Peter Rost, who posts it on his blog.
April 6, 2007: Philly Inquirer reports Zubillaga is fired.
April 12, 2007: Group of 7 claim in an email they sent the OIG a complaint about possible violations of its Zoladex CIA agreement 5 months ago.
April 13, 2006: AZ announces internal probe of sales practices; USA CEO Tony Zook takes over global marketing post. Zook replaces Martin Nicklasson, who left to work for Biovitrum.
April 18, 2007: AZ advertises Zubillaga’s job.
April 19, 2007: Abraxis’ Café Pharma bulletin board lights up with allegations that Abraxane being sold off-label and that there’s a nothing-in-writing policy.
April 25, 2007: Congressman Pete Stark writes to Inspector General urging him to “immediately investigate” the Bucket of Money scandal and demanding his “prompt response.”
May 3, 2007: AZ ends it probe, announces that “appropriate disciplinary action has been taken,” and that it will report details to the OIG. No other details offered.
May 20, 2007: Scarlett Spring, Zubillaga's boss, exits the company.
May 31, 2007: AZ says Andrea Paskman, the office ethics exec, was not involved in the scandal.
If you have spotted any errors, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org