Peter Rost wins appeal in qui tam case against Pfizer Inc.
Peter Rost, the writer of BrandweekNRX, filed a qui tam suit against Pfizer Inc., during his employment as Vice President at Pfizer. The suit alleged illegal marketing of Genotropin, a growth hormone.
The information in the suit resulted in Pfizer paying a $34,7 million fine in April 2007, however, the district court ultimately held that "Rost failed to plead his fraud claims with sufficient specificity" and his civil suit was dismissed.
Yesterday the United States Court of Appeals For the First Circuit vacated the decision by the distric court to dismiss Rost's suit, and concluded in its ruling, "The dismissal of the action is vacated. The case is remanded to the district court for further proceedings consistent with this opinion.
What this means is that Rost gets an opportunity to amend his original complaint with additional information requested by the court.
According to an earlier article in Brandweek, Rost's qui tam suit resulted in Pfizer paying "$34.7 million to end the investigation by the Department of Justice into the off-label marketing of its human-growth hormone brand, Genotropin, and allegations that a unit of the company made kickbacks to “an outside vendor” in order to increase its sales."
Pfizer admitted in its statement that a company it acquired, Pharmacia, “improperly promoted Genotropin between January 2000 and March 2003 for anti-aging purposes, improved athletic performance, and enhanced appearance.”
Please note that in the Government’s Sentencing Memorandum (download here), the Department of Justice states that the violations took place . . . “with the knowledge and approval of Pharmacia’s senior business executives.” (Page 8.)
Brandweek has the amazing and comprehensive story here.