Pfizer History Criminal Corruption

Pfizer History Criminal Corruption

Pfizer History Criminal Corruption. Pfizer’s Long History Of Criminal Behavior

In 1991, the federal government fined Pfizer, a then-record $3.1 million for violating the Clean Water Act at its former plant in Easton, Pennsylvania. Pfizer dumped untreated industrial wastes into the Easton Area Joint Sewer Authority’s wastewater treatment plant over a six-year period. According to the EPA, Pfizer’s untreated discharges were responsible for the failure of the Easton sewage treatment facility, and that led to minimally treated and untreated industrial and domestic wastes being dumped in the Delaware River for a number of years.

In 1992, Pfizer agreed to pay between $165 million and $215 million to settle lawsuits arising from the fracturing of its Bjork-Shiley Convexo-Concave heart valve, which at the time had resulted in nearly 300 deaths, and by 2012 had resulted in 663 deaths.

In 1994, Pfizer agreed to pay $10.75 million to settle Justice Department claims that the company lied to get federal approval for a mechanical heart valve that has fractured, killing hundreds of patients worldwide. Under the settlement, Pfizer also agreed to pay $9.25 million in coming years to monitor patients who received the device at Veterans Administration hospitals or pay for its removal. The deal was criticized by consumer rights activists who urged Government officials to bring criminal charges and lobbied for a steeper civil penalty for the multibillion-dollar company that had covered up safety concerns even as the device was killing patients.

In 1996, Pfizer administered an experimental drug during a clinical trial on 200 children in Nigeria but never told the parents that their children were the subjects of an experiment. Eleven of the children died and many others suffered side effects such as brain damage and organ failure. A report by Nigeria’s health ministry concluded, the experiment was “an illegal trial of an unregistered drug,” a “clear case of exploitation of the ignorant,” and a violation of Nigerian and international law. Pfizer did not obtain consent or inform the patients that they were the subjects of an experiment, not the recipients of an approved drug.

In 2002, Pfizer agreed to pay $49 million to settle allegations that the drug company defrauded the federal government and 40 states by charging too much for its cholesterol treatment Lipitor. Lipitor had sales of $6.45 billion in 2001.

In 2004, Pfizer agreed to plead guilty to two felonies and paid $430 million in penalties to settle charges that it fraudulently promoted the drug Neurontin for unapproved uses. Pfizer agreed that it aggressively marketed the epilepsy drug by illicit means for unrelated conditions including bipolar disorder, pain, migraine headaches, and drug and alcohol withdrawal. Pfizer’s tactics included planting company operatives in the audience at medical education events and bribing doctors with luxury trips.

In 2008, the New York Times published an article entitled, “Experts Conclude Pfizer Manipulated Studies.” Pfizer delayed the publication of negative studies, spun negative data to place it in a more positive light, and controlled the flow of clinical research data in order to promote it’s epilepsy drug Neurontin. Pfizer discontinued its marketing program for Neurontin in 2004 after the drug became available as a generic. That same year, the company paid $430 million to settle federal criminal and civil claims that one of its subsidiaries had promoted the drug for unapproved uses.

In 2009, Pfizer was fined $2.3 billion, then the largest health care fraud settlement and the largest criminal fine ever imposed in the United States. Pfizer pled guilty to misbranding the painkiller Bextra with “the intent to defraud or mislead”, promoting the drug to treat acute pain at dosages the FDA had previously deemed dangerously high. The government alleged that Pfizer had paid kickbacks to compliant doctors and also promoted three other drugs illegally: the antipsychotic Geodon, an antibiotic Zyvox, and the antiepileptic drug Lyrica.

In 2009, Pfizer paid $750 million to settle 35,000 claims that its drug, Rezulin, was responsible for 63 deaths and dozens of liver failures. Rezulin’s withdrawal from the U.S. market on March 21, 2000, followed negotiations between the drug’s manufacturer and the FDA. Senior FDA officials had long stood behind the drug despite a mounting death toll and Rezulin’s absence of proven life-saving benefits. The position of the FDA officials stood in contrast to their counterparts in Britain, where Rezulin was removed effective Dec. 1, 1997.

In 2010, Pfizer was ordered to pay $142.1 million in damages for violating federal anti-racketeering law by its fraudulent sale and marketing of Neurontin for uses not approved by the FDA. The jury found that Pfizer’s marketing of ‘Neurontin’ violated both the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act (RICO) and California’s Unfair Competition Law.

In 2010, the New York Times published an article entitled, “Pfizer Gives Details on Payments to Doctors”. Pfizer admitted that it paid about $20 million to 4,500 doctors and other medical professionals for consulting and speaking on its behalf in the last six months of 2009. Pfizer also paid $15.3 million to 250 academic medical centers and other research groups for clinical trials in the same period. The disclosures were required by an agreement that the company signed to settle a federal investigation into the illegal promotion of drugs for off-label uses.

In 2010, Blue Cross Blue Shield filed a lawsuit against Pfizer accusing the pharmaceutical giant of illegally bribing 5,000 doctors with lavish Caribbean vacations, golf games, massages, and other recreational activities in order to convince doctors to use Bextra for off-label use.

In 2010, leaked cables between Pfizer and US officials in Nigeria showed that Pfizer had hired investigators to unearth evidence of corruption against the Nigerian attorney general in order to blackmail him to drop legal action over the controversial 1996 Trovan trial involving children with meningitis. In 2009, Pfizer agreed to pay $75 million to the families harmed during the 1996 drug trial, but the cables suggest that the US drug giant was looking for blackmail to get the Nigerian attorney general to drop the $6 billion federal suit against Pfizer. The leaks showed that Pfizer’s investigators were passing ‘damaging’ information to the local media and threatening the attorney general that much more damaging information would come out if he did not drop the suit. The $6 billion lawsuit was dropped in 2009.

In 2012, the Securities and Exchange Commission charged Pfizer Inc. with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FCPA) when its subsidiaries bribed doctors and other health care professionals employed by foreign governments in Bulgaria, China, Croatia, Czech Republic, Italy, Kazakhstan, Russia, and Serbia in order to win business. According to the SEC, employees of Pfizer’s subsidiaries authorized and made cash payments and provided other incentives to bribe government doctors to utilize Pfizer products.

In 2012, Pfizer had paid $1.2 billion to settle claims by nearly 10,000 women that its hormone replacement therapy drug, Prempro, caused breast cancer. The Prempro settlements come after six years of trials, in which several plaintiffs were awarded tens of millions of dollars, including punitive damages for the drug maker’s actions in withholding information about the risk of breast cancer from Prempro.

In 2013, Pfizer agreed to pay $55 million to settle criminal charges of failing to warn patients and doctors about the risks of kidney disease, kidney injury, kidney failure, and acute interstitial nephritis caused by its proton pump inhibitor, Protonix.

In 2013, Pfizer set aside $288 million to settle claims by 2,700 people that its drug, Chantix, caused suicidal thoughts and severe psychological disorders. The FDA determined that Chantix is probably associated with a higher risk of a heart attack.

In 2014, Pfizer paid $35 million to settle a lawsuit accusing its subsidiary of promoting the kidney transplant drug, Rapamune, for unapproved uses, including bribing doctors to prescribe it to patients. According to New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman, who led the probe, Wyeth got doctors to push the drug for unapproved uses, relying on “misleading presentations of data.”

In 2016, Pfizer was fined a record £84.2 million for overcharging the NHS for its anti-epilepsy drug, Phenytoin, by 2,600 percent (from £2.83 to £67.50 a capsule), increasing the cost to UK taxpayers from £2 million in 2012 to about £50 million in 2013.

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