The drug maker Pfizer Inc. has reached a record settlement with the federal government arising from investigations into improper marketing of its Bextra painkiller and other drugs. Pfizer reached an agreement with the U.S. Attorney in Massachusetts to “resolve previously disclosed investigations” regarding Bextra and “other open investigations.” The settlement is the largest thus far for claims of off-label marketing practices. The previous record of $1.42 billion was paid earlier this year by Eli Lilly & Co. over its antipsychotic drug Zyprexa. These settlements point out two distinct things: one is that these companies don’t mind violating the law to make money; and also that they are making lots of it.
The settlement foreshadows resolutions of other pending investigations into other drug makers, according to Patrick Burns of Taxpayers Against Fraud, a Washington advocacy group. I’m not sure what other investigations were covered by the agreement. As you know, the company recalled Bextra in 2005. The pharmaceutical industry has had the luxury of being regulated by the FDA which has been little more than an extension of the industry. Hopefully, things will change under the Obama Administration.
Source: Bloomberg News
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