Thursday, May 03, 2007

FBI investigating Pfizer's Celebrex and Bextra?

I received the message below, but no documents verifying the story, not that it is likely anyone outside the FBI and DOJ would have access to such documents. I was also unable to find the FBI agent's name through various Internet searches. That is interesting, because it means it would have been hard for someone to make up his name.

So I called an FBI agent I have worked with in Boston in the past and received confirmation that there is, indeed, an FBI agent up there by the name of "Paul Baumrind."

I also confirmed that "Beth Ann Irvine" is a Special Agent, Office of Inspector General.

And of course, those guys aren't going to tell me or any other journalist what cases they're working on, however, the fact that the names were genuine certainly lends credibility to the information below. Additionally, the information is eerily similar to my story, "$400 Million Pfizer Settlement for Bextra/Celebrex Kickbacks to ExpressScripts?"

So here's the information I received:

Earlier this year, I was asked to testify in front of a grand jury in Boston. They were very interested in the Celebrex and Bextra promotions. I was shocked at how much information they had. It seems to me that at least one DM, one RM, and someone higher up the chain, possibly from marketing are the targets of the investigation. Seems like they are going after at least 3 individuals as well as the company and its marketing practices.

The FBI agent's name is Paul Baumrind.
The Health and Human Services agent's name is Beth Ann Irvine.

I haven't been at Pfizer for years, I'm not bitter, and I have no axe to grind with anyone. Other than the price of the stock, I simply don't care that much what happens at Pfizer. I left the company on my own and found a much better job. No Peter Rost-type agenda here. These 2 contacted me at home and asked me questions in my dining room for about 5 hours. If they hadn't come to me, I never would have gone forward. I could really care less.

So why did I do it? After a while, a person can become a bit numb as to how many unethical, illegal, and immoral things he or she does in the course of a day, a month, or a career. I knew every day that I was over the line in what I did. The problem was, I was so far over the line, that I couldn't even see it anymore. Nor could I remember where I was the first time I crossed it. Pfizer really turned me into the kind of person that I really didn't want to be. And in hindsight, I have to admit, that it really felt good to get this stuff off my chest.

The following week, I went to Boston where the same questions were asked (and answered) in front of a federal grand jury.

I have no idea when the investigation will conclude or what will happen. Just thought you might like to know. I know there have been others who have done the same. My name must have come up during someone else's testimony. How else would they have known to contact me?


Anonymous said...

Doc, to verfy this strory could you not check if the grand jury took place in Boston? Or is such investigation secret?
Secondly, I am starting to believe that USA goverment agencies are really interested and comitted to expose as many as possible of offending big pharma and punish them till it hurts. Yes they are rich and awash with "shjuka" money but sooner or later they are going to hurt.
More needs to be done in other countries. One does not hear about the RCMP in Canada doing anything about their big pharma, that is practically out of control. They do the same things but get fined in few thousands of dollars by industry bodies, if cought which is very rare. This is nothing but the proverbial slap on the wrist.
What about England,Germany, France or even Switzerand the cradle of pharmaceutical business? All those afiliates caught in USA are doing it in each and every country and we do not hear anything. Immagine it all the countries went after the big pharma everywhere the cummulative amounts of fines could be fantastic and that would really hert them.
Maybe it will happen someday. In the meantime something (we know what) is still rotten in the Bigpharmaland.

Anonymous said...

For every $1 the government invests in prosecuting False Claims they have a $15 return. That's a hell of a reason to ferret it out.