Pfizer pays $14.5m for illegal drug marketing


Pfizer has agreed to pay $14.5 million for illegally marketing overactive bladder drug Detrol, for males with benign prostatic hypertrophy.

The settlement resolves the last of ten whistleblower suits that were filed by the government against Pfizer, under which the company agreed to pay $2.3 billion dollars to resolve multiple civil claims and criminal charges.

Carmen Ortiz, US Attorney for the District of Massachusetts, said: “We hope and expect that this is indicative of a commitment to move forward in compliance with the law, and we will continue to watch vigilantly to ensure that Pfizer complies with the law in its sales and marketing of drugs sold to the public.”

It was filed that the company illegally marketed Detrol for treatments not approved by the FDA, marketing it for use in men suffering from benign prostatic hypertrophy and several allied conditions, including lower urinary tract symptoms and bladder outlet obstruction.

Tony West, Assistant Attorney General of the Justice Department’s Civil Division, said: “Whistleblowers play an important role in protecting taxpayer funds from fraud and abuse.”

The $14.5 million fine will be divided between the US and participating state Medicaid programs, with nearly $12 million going to the federal government and $2.5 million going to state Medicaid programmes.

“Settlements like this one help maintain the integrity of FDA’s drug approval process and support important federal and state health care programs,” added Mr West.

This settlement is part of the government scheme to combat healthcare fraud through the Health Care Fraud Prevention and Enforcement Action Team (HEAT) initiative, which was established in May 2009.