Pfizer Legal Trouble

In 2004, Pfizer subsidiary Warner-Lambert pleaded guilty and paid more than $430 million to settle criminal charges and civil liability for its fraudulent marketing practices involving Neurontin, its brand name for the drug gabapentin. Originally developed for the treatment of epilepsy, Neurontin was illegally advertised off-label for the treatment of various forms of neurological pain and in particular for migraines. Pfizer also has legal problems due to several of its medications. In recent years, Pfizer has had to pay for legal settlements following lawsuits against patients and allegations of illegal marketing. The most expensive settlement paid by Pfizer was more than $2.3 billion paid in fines to set civil and criminal penalties for the illegal marketing of four drugs, including Bextra, Geodon, Zyvox and Lyrica. A closer relationship with Pfizer and the pharmaceutical industry in general could indeed encourage greater commercialization of Canadian research. If this is the case, Pfizer and the other shareholders will benefit, as will Canadian researchers who will become their “external” research departments (as opposed to internal services). Dr. Beaudet`s political masters, who seem to believe that an expanded pharmaceutical industry is an end in itself, regardless of the consequences for the health of Canadians or the cost of health care, will also rejoice. Any economic activity – useful, harmful or simply inefficient – is included in GDP.

Illegal and corrupt business practices and the drugs they promote all contribute to the “economic growth” and profits of pharmaceutical companies. 10. If that is the only objective, why not British Columbia? Legalize (and tax) Bud? Because it would anger the Americans, who are armed and dangerous. There have been a number of fraudulent business practices for a number of different products of Pfizer or its subsidiaries. The criminal complaint related to illegal advertising of several Pfizer brands – Bextra (valdecoxib, an analgesic that has since been withdrawn from the market), Geodon (Ziprasidone HCl, an atypical antipsychotic), Zyvox (linezolid, an antibiotic) and Lyrica (pregabalin, an anti-seizure drug). These were advertised for “off-label” use, i.e. those other than those approved by the FDA.3 But there were also bribes for doctors and the use of unverified and misleading marketing materials to promote the prescription of several other Pfizer brands, including Viagra (sildenafil) and Lipitor (atorvastatin). 3. Doctors can prescribe a drug for off-label use, but the manufacturer cannot legally advertise it.

“Illegal behavior and fraud by pharmaceutical companies put public health at risk, corrupt medical decisions made by health care providers, and cost the government billions of dollars,” said Tony West, Assistant Attorney General of the Civil Division. “This civil settlement and the Pfizer settlement are another example of the sanctions that threaten when a pharmaceutical company puts profits above the well-being of patients.” An integrity agreement was also imposed in the previous record bill on allegations of fraud in the health care sector, the $1.7 billion paid by the Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) in 2003 (U.S. Department of Justice, 2003b). In this case, these were “false allegations arising from various allegedly illegal practices, including cost fraud and bribery payments to doctors” (United States Department of Justice, 2003a), as well as fraudulent billing of various kinds. But in the HCA case, the Justice Department also cracked down on a number of executives. A company may treat criminal and civil penalties as mere business expenses weighed against the proceeds of illegal conduct. But people can be put in jail, and that`s another matter entirely. It is conceivable that convicting corporate executives for criminal conduct and sentencing them to prison terms could be a more effective deterrent to the behavior of Pfizer “repeat offenders.” Dr. Tom Perry, quoted in the article, estimates that Neurontin`s sales in Canada are about $300 million per year.

Since the drug has been in use since the late 1990s, at least a billion dollars have been spent on an illegally advertised drug with few benefits and serious side effects. Pfizer has faced thousands of lawsuits for medical injuries caused by some of its most popular drugs. He also set a record for the largest fine paid for a lawsuit filed by the U.S. Department of Justice for health care fraud. Pfizer paid $2.3 billion in fines, penalties and settlements for allegations of illegal marketing. A commercial company as a legal entity differs from natural persons – you and me – in that it is completely amoral. It is a brilliantly designed social organization for one purpose – the pursuit of profit. Will the test of a corporate stock tend to increase profits or, more generally, the net worth of the company? The measure may involve violations of the law or risks to the health and well-being of patients or other natural persons. When you look at Pfizer records, you think of the term “habitual criminal.” But the company does not have the mens rea, the guilty mind associated with the crime in the natural person. Amoral and purely legal people know no moral limits, so they are no more guilty than a robot (Bakan 2004). “Pfizer`s off-label advertising of pharmaceutical drugs has significantly compromised the integrity of TRICARE, the Department of Defense`s health care system,” said Sharon Woods, Director of the Defense Criminal Investigation Service. “This illegal activity increases patient costs, threatens patient safety and negatively impacts the provision of health services to the more than nine million military personnel, retirees and their families who depend on this system.

Today`s indictment and settlement demonstrate the continued commitment of the Defence Criminal Investigation Service and its law enforcement partners to investigate and prosecute those who abuse government health care programs at the expense of taxpayers and patients. In the largest health care settlement in history, pharmaceutical giant Pfizer must pay $2.3 billion to solve criminal and civil charges. that the company illegally promoted the use of four of its medicines. including the painkiller Bextra, the U.S. Department of Justice announced Wednesday.