Pfizer Penalized

This announcement of a decision reached today was posted on the Fox News Weather Leader website.

WASHINGTON (AP) — The world’s biggest drug company is going to pay a record amount in a civil and criminal penalty over unlawful promotions of prescription drugs. The Justice Department says the settlement calls for Pfizer (FY’-zur) to pay $2.3 billion. That includes a $1.2 billion criminal fine, which is the largest in U.S. history.

What is this about?

Federal prosecutors have hit Pfizer with this record breaking penalty for illegal drug promotions that included free golf, massage, and resort junkets according to an associated press story.

The company has been marketing drugs for purposes other than those approved by the FDA, or marketing ‘off label’ as it is called. In these illegal marketing deals the company has been courting members of the medical profession with false safety claims for its products, and bribing them with the perks mentioned previously.

Pfizer, a repeat offender in this instance, is to be monitored by Health and Human Services Department over the next 5 years to prevent backsliding.

It can only have fazed Pfizer so much though…

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.

It’s a safe bet to assume that drug takers are not living like drug makers.