Criminal Prosecutions of Pfizer Corporation

In 2003, Pfizer Corporation and Subsidiaries, Warner-Lambert, and Parke-Davis (Pfizer), agreed to pay $49 million to resolve alleged false claims arising from sale of the cholesterol-lowering drug, Lipitor. The company allegedly failed to report accurately to the Center for Medicare & Medicaid Services its "best price" as required under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program. By overstating its price, the company allegedly retained more than $20 million in rebates owed to the Medicaid program. Pfizer also entered into a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement under which Pfizer must certify its process for determining best price, and adopt internal safeguards to prevent improper reporting in the future.

Pfizer, Inc., (Pfizer) agreed to pay $2.3 billion, the largest health care fraud settlement in the history of the Department of Justice and HHS/OIG, to resolve criminal and civil liability arising from the illegal promotion of certain pharmaceutical products. Pfizer's subsidiary, Pharmacia and Upjohn Company, Inc., agreed to plead guilty to illegally promoting the sale of its anti-inflammatory drug, Bextra, for off-label uses and paid a criminal fine of $1.195 billion and forfeited $105 million, for a total criminal resolution of $1.3 billion. In addition, Pfizer agreed to pay $1 billion to resolve allegations in a number of qui tam cases that it illegally promoted four drugs - Bextra; Geodon, an anti-psychotic drug; Zyvox, an antibiotic; and Lyrica, an anti-epileptic drug - and caused false claims to be submitted to Government health care programs for uses that were not medically accepted indications and therefore not covered by those programs. The civil settlement also resolved allegations that Pfizer paid kickbacks to health care providers to induce them to prescribe these, as well as other, drugs. The Federal share of the civil settlement was $668.5 million and the state Medicaid share of the civil settlement was $331.5 million. These proceeds were collected in FY20 1 0 and will be reported in the FY 2010 annual report. Pfizer also entered into a 5-year Corporate Interagency Agreement (CIA) with HHS/OIG.

Sources: HHS Health Care Fraud and Abuse Control Program, Annual Reports for FY 2003 and 2004

This article was revised on December 26, 2005.

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