Pfizer Penalties Will Add Up To $141 Million in Neurontin Racketeering Casee


Posted on 31st March 2010 by Gordon Johnson in Uncategorized

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Pfizer will have to pay penalties totaling $141 million after being found to have unlawfully promoted the epilepsy drug Neurontin, violating a federal racketeering law.

A Boston jury last Thursday levied a $47 million judgment against Pfizer, the world’s largest drug manufacturer. But under the so-called federal RICO law, standing for Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations act, such as award is tripled, so the verdict will wind up costing Pfizer $141 million. The drug maker said it would appeal the verdict.

In the case plaintiffs Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan charged that Pfizer had unlawfully promoted Neurontin for unapproved uses for which the drug doesn’t work. Those unapproved uses included migraine headaches, pain and bipolar disorder.

Drug makers like Pfizer can just promote drugs for uses approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, although physicians can prescribes medicines as they choose.

“We are disappointed with the verdict and will pursue post-trial motions and an appeal,” Pfizer said in a statement. “The verdict and the judge’s rulings are not consistent with the facts and the law.”

Pfizer alleges that the judge improperly allowed details of a $430 million settlement the drug maker paid for unlawfully marketing Neurontin in 2004 to be considered by the Boston jury.