[Ibogaine] re; OT big DrugDealer, SmallJustice
Edward A. Weissbard
edwardw at mtciep.com
Wed Sep 2 14:08:16 EDT 2009
Is this surprising to anyone?? :o)
edwardw at mtciep.com
> Pfizer to pay record $2.3 billion penalty
> Justice Department cites unlawful prescription-drug promotions
> The Associated Press
> updated 7:03 a.m. HT, Wed., Sept . 2, 2009
> WASHINGTON - Pfizer Inc., the world’s largest drug maker, will pay a
> record $2.3 billion civil and criminal penalty over unlawful
> prescription-drug promotions.
> Announcing the settlement Wednesday, the Justice Department said that
> it included the largest criminal fine in U.S. history — $1.2 billion.
> The agreement also included a criminal forfeiture of $105 million.
> Authorities called Pfizer a repeat offender, noting it is the fourth
> such settlement of government charges in the last decade. They said
> the government will monitor the company’s conduct for the next five
> years to rein in the abuses.
> To promote the drugs, authorities said Pfizer invited doctors to
> consultant meetings at resort locations, paying their expenses and
> providing perks.
> “They were entertained with golf, massages, and other activities,”
> said Mike Loucks, the U.S. attorney in Massachusetts.
> Loucks said that even as Pfizer was negotiating deals on past
> misconduct, they were continuing to violate the very same laws with
> other drugs.
> Six corporate whistleblowers who first brought the misconduct to light
> will share $102 million of the settlement money.
> *Largest settlement involving drug company
> *FBI Assistant Director Kevin Perkins praised the whistleblowers who
> decided to “speak out against a corporate giant that was blatantly
> violating the law and misleading the public through false marketing
> Associate Attorney General Thomas Perrelli said the settlement
> illustrates ways the department “can help the American public at a
> time when budgets are tight and health care costs are rising.”
> The overall settlement is the largest ever paid by a drug company for
> alleged violations of federal drug rules.
> The government said the company promoted four prescription drugs,
> including the pain killer Bextra, as treatments for medical conditions
> different than those the drugs had been approved for by federal
> Use of drugs for so-called “off-label” medical conditions is not
> uncommon, but drug manufacturers are prohibited from marketing drugs
> for uses that have not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
> Bextra, one of a class of painkillers known as Cox-2 inhibitors, was
> pulled from the U.S. market in 2005 amid mounting evidence it raised
> the risk of heart attack, stroke and death.
> A Pfizer subsidiary, Pharmacia and Upjohn Inc., which was acquired in
> 2003, has entered an agreement to plead guilty to one count of felony
> misbranding. The criminal case applied only to Bextra.
> The $1 billion in civil penalties was related to Bextra and a number
> of other medicines. A portion of the civil penalty will be distributed
> to 49 states and the District of Columbia, according to agreements
> with each state’s Medicaid program.
> “These agreements bring final closure to significant legal matters and
> help to enhance our focus on what we do best — discovering, developing
> and delivering innovative medicines to treat patients dealing with
> some of the world’s most debilitating diseases,” said Amy W. Schulman,
> senior vice president and general counsel of Pfizer.
> Justice officials discussed details of the deal at a news conference
> with FBI, federal prosecutors, and Health and Human Services
> Department officials.
> *Terms of the settlement
> *In financial filings in January, the company had indicated that it
> would pay $2.3 billion over allegations it had marketed the pain
> reliever Bextra and possibly other drugs for medical conditions
> different than their approved use. The civil settlement announced
> Wednesday also covered Pfizer’s promotions of three other drugs:
> blockbuster nerve pain and epilepsy treatment Lyrica, schizophrenia
> medicine Geodon, antibiotic Zyvox and nine other medicines. Pfizer
> said the agreement with the Justice Department resolves the
> investigation into promotion of all those drugs, plus several related
> whistleblower lawsuits.
> Under terms of the settlement, Pfizer must pay $1 billion to
> compensate Medicaid, Medicare, and other federal health care programs.
> Some of that money will be shared among the states: New York, for
> example, will receive $66 million, according to the state’s attorney
> general, Andrew Cuomo.
> “Pfizer ripped off New Yorkers and taxpayers across the country to pad
> its bottom line,” Cuomo said. “Pfizer’s corrupt practices went so far
> as sending physicians on exotic junkets as well as wining and dining
> health care professionals to persuade them to prescribe the company’s
> drugs for patients in taxpayer-funded programs.”
> Pfizer spokesman Chris Loder confirmed Wednesday that the $2.3 billion
> charge to the company’s earnings had been taken in the fourth quarter
> of 2008.
> “No additional charge to the company’s earnings will be recorded in
> connection with this settlement,” he said.
> In her statement, Schulman said: “We regret certain actions taken in
> the past, but are proud of the action we’ve taken to strengthen our
> internal controls and pioneer new procedures so that we not only
> comply with state and federal laws, but also meet the high standards
> that patients, physicians and the public expect from a leading
> worldwide company dedicated to healing and better health.”
> “Corporate integrity is an absolute priority for Pfizer,” she said,
> “and we will continue to take appropriate actions to further enhance
> our compliance practices and strengthen public trust in our company.”
> When Pfizer originally disclosed the settlement figure, it also
> announced plans to acquire rival Wyeth for $68 billion. That deal,
> which would bolster Pfizer’s position as the world’s top drug maker by
> revenue, is expected to close before year’s end.
> Shares of Pfizer dropped 14 cents to $16.24 in midday trading.
> Copyright 2009 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This
> material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.
> URL: http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/32657347/ns/business-us_business/
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