Pfizer Punished with 2.3 billion dollar Fraud Fine
The world’s largest drug firm Pfizer has been handed an astonishing $2.3 billion (£1.4 billion) fine for misleading customers and illegally promoting drugs for purposes they were not intended for.
Four drugs manufactured by the company: Bextra, an anti-inflammatory medicine; Zyvox, an antibiotic; Geodon, a treatment for psychosis and Lyrica, a drug for epileptics, were all falsely promoted “with the intent to defraud or mislead” according to the US Department of Justice (DoJ).
The $2.3 billion fine marks a new record corporate penalty charge in the US, far outweighing the $1.5 billion fine meted out by the DoJ in January this year to Eli Lilly for similar fraud surrounding the drug Zyprexa. The Pfizer investigation came to light when six whistleblowers made allegations against the drugs giant.
One of the six former employees, John Kopchinski told the BBC: “It’s hard to do what’s right when everyone else around you is following management sales directive.” Mr Kopchinski described how Bextra was being pushed by sales teams to orthopaedic surgeons when the drug had not been tested in this area.
“At that particular dosage you’re subjecting patients to a host of side effects and other areas that have not been studied scientifically,” Mr Kopchinski revealed.
In a public press statement published on the company’s website, Pfizer senior vice president, Amy W. Schulman said: “Corporate integrity is an absolute priority for Pfizer, and we will continue to take appropriate actions to further enhance our compliance practices and strengthen public trust in our company.”