Pfizer pays $35 million Genotropin settlement
I HAVE FINALLY BEEN PROVEN RIGHT ABOUT ILLEGAL MARKETING OF GENOTROPIN AND “PHARMACIA & UPJOHN, INC, WILL BE DISQUALIFIED FROM PARTICIPATION IN GOVERNMENT HEALTHCARE PROGRAMS.”
For the full, painful story about what it took to force Pfizer to go to the DOJ, click HERE.”
The following resolves the criminal charges resulting from my false claims suit—not the civil complaint:
April 02, 2007 01:38 PM Eastern Daylight Time
Pharmacia Subsidiaries Reach $34.7 Million Settlement with DOJ;
Resolve Allegations of Improper Activities Prior to Acquisition by Pfizer
Pfizer Discovered and Promptly Reported Subsidiary’s Off-Label Marketing of Genotropin to Justice Department, Other Agencies
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Pfizer announced today that two subsidiaries of Pharmacia have reached separate settlements with the United States Department of Justice to address charges stemming from the off-label marketing of Genotropin — a human growth hormone medicine — and the inappropriate use of a vendor contract to increase the sales of other Pharmacia medicines. Both settlements cover activities that occurred at Pharmacia before that company was acquired by Pfizer in 2003. The subsidiaries have agreed to pay fines totaling $34.7 million.
One subsidiary — Pharmacia & Upjohn Company Inc. — will plead guilty to a single count of offering to an outside vendor remuneration in the form of an award of a contract to manage a Genotropin patient assistance program as an inducement for recommending the purchase of Pharmacia medicines. The contract was awarded in 2000. The subsidiary, which has no operational role in Pfizer today, was assessed a fine of $19.7 million and will be disqualified from participation in government healthcare programs. The disqualification will have no impact on current or future Pfizer medicines approved for use in the United States and will not affect the continued marketing of Genotropin.
A second Pharmacia subsidiary — Pharmacia & Upjohn Company LLC — has entered into a Deferred Prosecution Agreement with the Department of Justice (DOJ) that includes a fine of $15 million to address the improper promotion of Genotropin, which Pfizer discovered and self-reported to the Department of Justice, the FDA and the Office of the Inspector General within the first month following completion of the Pharmacia acquisition. Under the agreement, no criminal charges will be filed against Pharmacia in return for compliance with the terms of the agreement.
“As the Department of Justice has acknowledged, Pfizer voluntarily and fully self-disclosed the off-label promotion of Genotropin by a Pharmacia subsidiary before Pharmacia was acquired by Pfizer,” said Allen Waxman, senior vice president and general counsel. “Pfizer’s marketing and promotion practices are not involved in the settlement. The company has internal controls to guard against these types of practices.”
As detailed in the settlement agreement, the subsidiary improperly promoted Genotropin between January, 2000 and March, 2003 for anti-aging purposes, improved athletic performance, and enhanced appearance. The settlement does not allege that patients suffered any adverse health effects from those off-label uses. Genotropin is FDA-approved for the treatment of children with hormone-related growth failure, pediatric patients with Prader-Willi Syndrome, and adults with growth hormone deficiency.
The two settlements resolve the Department of Justice investigation of these matters.
Just a reminder, from Pharmaceutical Executive:
You've very publicly taken on Pfizer. How has that affected the way you've been portrayed in the media?
Pfizer used about 20 lawyers and PR people to prepare for my termination. Then they terminated me when I was out of the country and couldn't respond very well to the press. Pfizer also said a number of things to the press that were completely untrue, and they did it in a very sophisticated manner.
The company put their charges into their own legal filing, which is a protected form of speech. That way, it was hard for me to claim libel. The legal filing contained information that was intended to make me look like I was trying to blackmail Pfizer and that I was a parasite on the case [meaning that the original source of the information about off-label promotion came from somewhere else]. The PR person of Pfizer even said to The New York Times that, since I was the VP, I was blowing the whistle on my own conduct.
It is Marketing 101. Number one, blame the whistleblower. Number two, make him look like a criminal and an idiot. That's how it works—it's just sad to see it played out.