In what is being called the largest prescription drug criminal fraud case in U.S. history, Pfizer will pay $2.3 billion in civil and criminal penalties to compensate taxpayers, patients and doctors across the United States for illegal drug marketing.
A government investigation revealed that Pfizer promoted the sale of Bextra – an anti-inflammatory drug that Pfizer pulled from the market in 2005 – for uses and dosages that the FDA specifically declined to approve due to safety concerns. Despite the lack of approval, Pfizer literally wined and dined physicians around the country to promote the “off-label” uses of its drug. As a result, Pfizer will pay a criminal fine of $1.3 billion.
In addition, Pfizer agreed to a $1 billion civil settlement to resolve allegations under the civil False Claims Act that the company illegally promoted four drugs – Bextra; Geodon, an anti-psychotic drug; Zyvox, an antibiotic; and Lyrica, an anti-epileptic drug – and caused false claims to be submitted to government health care programs for uses that were not medically accepted indications.