Pfizer settles over illegal drug marketing
According to an article published on the BBC News website 'Pfizer in $491m drug marketing case settlement' July 31st 2013, Pfizer agreed to pay $491m (£320m) to settle an investigation into illegal marketing of the drug Rapamune. The drug, prescribed to prevent rejection of transplanted kidneys, was made by Wyeth which Pfizer acquired in 2009.
It was alleged that Wyeth sales staff encouraged doctors to prescribe it for other organ transplants, which were not approved by regulators. Pfizer was keen to stress that the illegal marketing occurred before it acquired the firm saying in a statement "Pfizer was not a subject or target of this matter, and cooperated fully with the government from the time it learned of this investigation in October 2009."
The US Department of Justice said: "Wyeth trained its sales force to promote Rapamune for off-label uses not approved by the FDA, including ex-renal uses, and even paid bonuses to incentivise those sales."
Pfizer has had to settle a dispute surrounding Wyeth before. In 2012 it agreed to pay $55m to settle charges that Wyeth promoted its heartburn drug Protonix for unapproved uses.
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