Pfizer Pays Record $2.3B Fine for False Marketing
By Harry Kimball, Newser Staff
Posted Sep 2, 2009 1:11 PM CDT
The company logo for drugmaker Pfizer Inc.   (AP Photo)

(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.

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