Article and picture from Alliance for Human Research Protection:
US Justice & Pfizer Reach Sweetheart Settlement Re Genotropin
Under a settlement reached between the U.S. Attorney and Pfizer, the company admits criminal guilt by one of two subsidiaries--Pharmacia Upjohn, Inc, for offering kickbacks ( $12.3 million) to a subsidiary of a pharmacy-benefits manager in the hope the company would, in turn, recommend Pharmacia's drug products to its clients.
U.S. Attorney Michael J. Sullivan said in a prepared statement: "The relationships between pharmaceutical companies and the pharmacy-benefit managers who have so much influence over the drug choice of millions of Americans must be free of the taint of kickbacks or other illegal payments."
The criminal suit against Pfizer was triggered by Peter Rost, MD. former Pfizer Vice President who blew the whistle in his False Claims Act lawsuit.
The second subsidiary, Pharmacia Upjohn, LLC was charged with illegal marketing of the human growth hormone, Genotropin, for unapproved uses.
Pfizer agreed to pay $34.7 million in fines and penalties to settle. Corporate Crime Reporter notes: "As a result of the plea agreement and the deferred prosecution agreement, Pfizer Inc. was granted a non-prosecution agreement. Nice deal, if you can negotiate it."
As Dr. Rost notes in his commentary, last year Pfizer netted a profit of $11 billion. A $35 million settlement is equivalent to a single day in profits. Certainly no big deal for the company!
Not only did Pfizer walk away with a slap on the wrist settlement, but the US Attorney sent a troubling message to those who engage in corporate crime: Pfizer was praised for "acting responsibly by self reporting" whereas the whistleblower whose action was instrumental in prompting the company to "self report" is treated as a persona non grata.
Something is very wrong with those who are charged with enforcing corporate laws.
Labels: Alliance for Human Research