Pfizer Pays Record $2.3B Fine for False Marketing

By Harry Kimball,  Newser Staff

Posted Sep 2, 2009 1:11 PM CDT

(Newser) – Pfizer will shell out $2.3 billion—a record for a health care fraud settlement—over deceptive marketing of its drugs, the Los Angeles Times reports. Pfizer and one of its subsidiaries marketed four drugs based on off-label uses specifically prohibited by the FDA. The settlement with the Justice Department includes a $1.3 billion criminal fine and $1 billion to settle civil claims.

As part of the settlement—which resolves allegations that Pfizer gave doctors kickbacks to prescribe the drugs for the unspecified off-label uses—six whistleblowers who brought the fraud to the government’s attention will receive $102 million. Pfizer will also have to enter an HHS program designed “to avoid and promptly detect” criminal conduct. The four drugs in question were Bextra, Geodon, Zyvox, and Lyrica.

The company logo for drugmaker Pfizer Inc.
The company logo for drugmaker Pfizer Inc.   (AP Photo)
A bottle of Bextra.
A bottle of Bextra.   (AP Photo)
Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli, center, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, left, and Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Tony West announce the settlement.
Associate Attorney General Tom Perrelli, center, Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, left, and Assistant Attorney General for the Civil Division Tony West announce the settlement.   (AP Photo)
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