"Peter Rost vs. Pfizer: The DOJ Is Back"
From Ed Silverman's Pharmalot:
"This occurs just as the scandal breaks over White House interference with US Attorneys, suggesting the decision may provide clues about the extent to which the DOJ will be committed to pursuing corporate fraud."
Peter Rost vs. Pfizer: The DOJ Is Back
In a boost to Peter Rost, the pharmacetical gadfly, the Justice Department is seeking permission to have until April 26 to file a friend-of-the-court brief in a qui tam, or whistleblower case he brought against Pfizer. Rost charged Pfizer - and Pharmacia, his former employer, which Pfizer acquired - with violating the False Claims Act by off-label promotion of Genotropin, a growth hormone treatment for which he had been responsible.
For those with good memories, Rost's claim was denied last year by a federal court judge in Boston. Before that, the US Attorney in Boston declined to join his case. So why is the Justice Department getting involved now? The reason cited by the judge for denying the claim was that Rost failed to show harm to a single patient, which is quite difficult to do in an age of tightening privacy laws. By taking that view, the judge may have made it very difficult for the US Attorney in Boston, which is successfully chasing drugmakers for off-label activities, to file additional charges under the federal False Claims Act.
"Resolution of this case could have a substantial impact on the Act's jurisdictional bar and the pleading requirements for complaints brought under the False Claims Act," the DOJ writes in its motion, which refers to the "importance of the legal issues raised by this case." By seeking extra time, the DOJ hopes to convince the US Solicitor General to pursue the matter and file a friend-of-the-court-brief to accompany the appeal Rost filed the other day.
This occurs just as the scandal breaks over White House interference with US Attorneys, suggesting the decision may provide clues about the extent to which the DOJ will be committed to pursuing corporate fraud. Now, Pharmalot understands why Rost, who recently restarted his blog, looked so happy two days ago during a chance meeting in a Borders book store.
"Something wonderful is happening," he cackled. Well, not for Pfizer.
Pharmalot has the DOJ motion and will provide a link as soon as possible.Posted by Ed Silverman