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Pfizer Accepts Wrongdoing In A Settlement

Jenny Decker RN's picture

In a historic settlement, Pfizer agrees to pay $2.5 billion in order to settle civil and criminal charges in a lawsuit over Bextra and several other drugs, writes Daily Finance. The scope of Pfizer’s crimes are monumental.

The Pfizer lawsuit settlement involves the pain management medication Lyrica, Geodon, which is used in the treatment of schizophrenia, and Zyvox, which is used to treat infections. There are nine other drugs that were included in the lawsuit. The FDA refused to approve these drugs for certain uses. Although physicians can prescribe them for off-label uses, the drug company cannot. One of Pfizer’s regional managers pleaded guilty to one count of distributing a drug for off-label use. This manager and her sale staff sold Bextra for the uses that the FDA refused to approve the drug for.

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The breakdown of the settlement is this: $503 million related to Bextra, $301 related to Geodon, $98 million for Zyvox, and $50 million for Lyrica. Pfizer will also pay $1 billion to Medicare and Medicaid. Commenting on the Pfizer news, the Secretary of Department of Health and Human Services called this event an “historical settlement.”

As part of the Pfizer settlement, the company has several states to which it has reached agreements on civil consumer protection allegations. These related to past promotional practices that are related to the drug Geodon. $33 million are involved here.

As a result of the criminal charges, Pfizer will have to comply with certain laws. One thing the Pfizer company has to do is enter into what is called a CIA, or Corporate Integrity Agreement with officials. This puts in place new measures requiring Pfizer to continue maintaining a compliance program meant for corporations in trouble. This will last for five years.

The company states that it is relieved to have the settlement completed and the problem resolved. Amy W. Schulman, the senior vice president and general counsel of Pfizer apologizes, “we regret certain actions taken in the past, but are proud of the action we’ve taken to strengthen our internal controls and pioneer new procedures.” The company has instituted more measures to improve its operations that were not required by the agreement.