Who is Astra Zenca?


Astra Zeneca, a biopharmaceutical company that manufactures and sells prescription medication, is actually a conglomerate of two companies which merged to become one in April of 1999. The merger involved the Swedish based company known as Astra AB and the British company known as Zeneca plc. The company is headquartered in Westminster, London, is publicly traded, and appears on the New York, London and OMX Stock Exchanges. Astra Zeneca manufactures medications to treat gastrointestinal, vascular, cardiac, and respiratory disorders.

While the pharmaceutical company is responsible for creating some of the most popular brands of prescription drugs on the market today, it has also been involved in its share of controversy. Despite a few law suits and a fine for transfer mispricing, the company continues to make great strides in every facet of the pharmaceutical business including research, product development, and sales.

Medications Made By Astra Zeneca

One of Astra Zeneca's most well known drugs is omeprazole, marketed under the brand name Prilosec. Prilosec treats both ulcers and gastroesphogeal reflux disease, nicknamed GERD. Nexium, scientifically known as esomeprazole magnesium, is marketed to treat acid reflux disease symptoms.

Astra Zeneca has also been instrumental in developing the vaccine for Human Papilloma Virus (HPV). Their other oncology drugs include drugs to manage prostate cancer and drugs for post-surgery breast cancer treatment.

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Astra Zeneca also manufactures and sells a psychiatric drug marketed under the brand name Seroquel. According to the company Seroquel, an atypical-antipsychotic drug, will be instrumental in treating depression and general anxiety disorder. There have been allegations that Seroquel causes diabetes in patients and Astra Zeneca recently reached a partial settlement with litigants in that suit. It remains unclear how the partial settlement will affect future sales of the drug. However, the company touts a policy of corporate transparency and promises that welcomes public scrutiny of its manufacturing and sales operations.

The company also owns the brand Crestor. Crestor is marketed as cholesterol lowering drug. The company claims that Crestor, rosuvastatin calcium, blocks an enzyme in the liver to reduce the amount of bad cholesterol produced by the body and increase the body's production of good cholesterol. Additionally, the company claims that when combined with a healthy diet, Crestor can also slow the build-up of plaque in the arteries over time.

Community Involvement

In addition to improving the quality of life for developed, economically stable countries, Astra Zeneca has partneered with other companies and foundations to explore how to improve healthcare worldwide.

Astra Zeneca recently announced that with the help of African Medical and Research Foundation, it has developed a program to provided integrated treatment of tuberculosis, HIV/AIDS and malaria in the country of Uganda. According to Astra Zeneca, although there is a clear statistical link between the 3 diseases, patients in Uganda are forced to seek treatment through separate health services. The leading cause of death in Ugandan HIV/AIDS patients is tuberculosis. Additionally, Ugandans with HIV are much more susceptible to death from malaria because malaria increases the HIV viral load in infected adults.

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In 1993, the company showed its commitment to community service by creating the Astra Zeneca HealthCare Foundation. The Foundation is a 501 (c) 3, non-profit organization dedicated to promoting health care issues on an international platform. The Foundation's missions include educating the public about proper healthcare, providing healthcare for underserved populations, and assisting other charitable organizations in meeting their goals.


Although Astra Zeneca enjoys a solid reputation among consumers and colleagues, the company has experience some turbulence along the way. In 2010, the company agreed to pay 505 million pounds in settlement of a UK lawsuit regarding transfer mispricing. In August of 2010, Astra Zeneca agreed to settle a lawsuit with almost 18,000 plaintiffs who claimed that use of the drug Seroquel had led to diabetes. Astra Zeneca was also involved in a Nobel Prize Investigation in 2008. Additionally, in the late 1990's the company made some executive changes after a highly publicized sexual harassment scandal.

Pharmaceutical companies are no strangers to civil lawsuits, as inevitably prescription drugs tend to produce some side effect. However, unlike some other pharmaceutical companies who have been accused of deliberately ignoring and hiding information which indicated potentially dangerous side effects, Astra Zeneca appears to take a proactive approach to resolving its conflicts.


Copyright 2010