Pfizer to Pay $35 Million to Settle Issue of Promoting a Drug for Unapproved Uses

Pfizer to Pay $35 Million to Settle Issue of Promoting a Drug for Unapproved Uses

Pfizer will have to shell out $35 million to settle the issue of illegally marketing an organ transplant drug for unapproved uses. The pharmaceutical company faced allegations from 42 states, including Mississippi, after its Wyeth Pharmaceuticals reportedly breached drug marketing policies.

The states' attorneys general said Pfizer's subsidiary, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, deliberately trained its sales representatives to encourage doctors to prescribe Rapamune for purposes other than prevention of rejection of transplanted kidneys.

Pfizer acquired Wyeth in 2009 and as a parent company it has to be held responsible for the breach, said the attorneys general. Although Rapamune sought an approval for use in kidney transplant patients, it failed to get the nod of the Food and Drug Administration to be promoted for uses other than the former.

After a similar investigation was launched by the Department of Justice, Pfizer agreed to resolve the issue by paying nearly $491 million in July 2013.

According to New York-based Pfizer, it is no way associated with the alleged activity as it occurred before it purchased Wyeth. The company said that it did not do anything wrong.

However, for alleged off-label marketing and promotion of immunosuppressive drug Rapamune by legacy company Wyeth, Pfizer will have to pay $35 million to settle with 41 state attorneys general, said New York's attorney general, Eric Schneiderman.

Schneiderman said Wyeth was allegedly promoting the drug for use in liver, heart and drug transplants when the approval of the drug only meant to target kidney transplants.

"Patients and consumers need to have confidence in the truthfulness of claims made to them by medical providers without having to worry about drug companies manipulating the doctor-patient relationship", he stated.

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