[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

Halyna wrote:
> 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 
> claims.”
> 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 
> regulators.
> 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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