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Pfizer to Pay $490 Million to Resolve Illegal Marketing Allegations

Destiny Baker3 years ago

Reuters reports that repeat offender Pfizer Inc. has been ordered by the U.S. Justice Department to pay a fine of $490 million in regards to the illegal marketing of Rapamune.

Pfizer acquired the drug with its 2009 acquisition of Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, who pled guilty to violating the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act.

About Rapamune and Illegal Marketing

“Wyeth’s conduct put profits ahead of health and safety of a highly vulnerable patient population dependent of life sustaining therapy” – FDA Special Agent in Charge Antoinette Henry as published by Reuters.

  • Rapamune was approved in 1999 for use in kidney transplants to keep the body’s immune system from rejecting the new organ.
  • Wyeth proceeded to promote the drug's off label use for heart, liver, lung, and pancreatic transplants.
  • Wyeth reportedly offered its employees incentives and bonuses in hopes of boosting of off label use of the product and in turn increase profits.
  • Pfizer acquired Wyeth in 2009 for $68 billion.
  • According to adverse event records, some of the off label uses (in transplants of organs other than kidneys) resulted in the patients' deaths.

Pfizer’s History of Illegal Marketing

  • According to the New York Times, this case may result in Pfizer violating a corporate integrity agreement it signed last year after another illegal marketing case.
  • The company was involved in the illegal sales of the painkillers Lyrica and Bextra, the schizophrenia drug Geoden, and the anti-biotic Zyvox.
  • Pfizer paid $2.3 billion to settle the investigation into the illegal marketing of the drugs.
  • The amount included a $1.3 billion criminal fine, the largest criminal fine in U.S. history.
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