Pfizer to Pay Record $2.3B Fine for Fraudulent Marketing

John Commins, for HealthLeaders Media , September 2, 2009

As part of the settlement, Pfizer will enter a corporate integrity agreement with the Office of Inspector General at HHS, with procedures in place to avoid or promptly detect future misconduct.

Pfizer General Counsel Amy W. Schulman says the settlements "bring final closure" for the drug maker. "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," Schulman says. "Corporate integrity is an absolute priority for Pfizer, and we will continue to take appropriate actions to further enhance our compliance practices and strengthen public trust in our company."

Mike Loucks, acting U.S. attorney for Massachusetts, says Pfizer had been skirting the law for a long time and that the massive fines fit the crimes. "At the very same time Pfizer was in our office negotiating and resolving the allegations of criminal conduct by its then newly acquired subsidiary, Warner-Lambert, Pfizer was itself in its other operations violating those very same laws," Loucks says. "Today's enormous fine demonstrates that such blatant and continued disregard of the law will not be tolerated."

Whistleblower lawsuits filed under the False Claims Act that are pending in Massachusetts, Pennsylvania, and Kentucky triggered this investigation. Six whistleblowers will receive payments totaling more than $102 million from the federal share of the civil recovery.

John Commins is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media.

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