Pfizer Inc. has agreed to pay $2.3 billion to settle charges that it illegally marketed the pain drug Bextra and three other medicines for uses that weren't approved by the Food and Drug Administration, Dow Jones Newswire reports. More from the story:
The Justice Department said the agreement was the largest health-care fraud settlement in the department's history.
The department said that, as part of the settlement, Pfizer subsidiary Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. agreed to plead guilty to a felony violation for misbranding Bextra.
The department said Pfizer promoted Bextra for several uses and dosages that the FDA specifically declined to approve because of safety concerns.
Pfizer also improperly promoted the anti-psychotic drug Geodon, the antibiotic drug Zyvox and the anti-epileptic drug Lyrica, the department said.
Hmmm. Wonder if the 16 journalists who accepted Pfizer-funded, all-expenses paid trips to DC to the National Press Foundation September 13-16 will get a workshop on off-label marketing techniques?
Similarly, I wonder if journalists at the Society of Professional Journalists national conference in Indianapolis last week who schmoozed at the Lilly headquarters for "networking" or "professional development" heard anything about Lilly's $1.4 billion fine this year for off-label promotion of Zyprexa?