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States reach $43 million settlement with Pfizer

Norwalk Reflector Staff • Dec 12, 2012 at 7:10 PM

Attorney General Mike DeWine announced today that he and 32 other Attorneys General reached a $42.9 million Consent Judgment with Pfizer Inc. to resolve allegations that Pfizer Inc. unlawfully promoted its drugs, Zyvox® and Lyrica®.

Under the settlement, Ohio will receive $1.5 million.

"Consumers need correct information about medicines they are being prescribed," said Attorney General DeWine. "Through this agreement, we are assuring that will be the case when it comes to these products. It's also a reminder to all drug makers that the accurate promotion of their products is critically important."

The Attorneys General allege that Pfizer Inc. engaged in unfair and deceptive practices in its promotion of Zyvox® by making misleading and unsubstantiated superiority claims that broadened the indications for Zyvox®, an antibacterial agent approved to treat certain types of infections, including among other approved indications, nosocomial pneumonia caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ("MRSA") and complicated skin and skin structure infections due to MRSA.

Moreover, the Attorneys General allege that Pfizer Inc. engaged in unfair and deceptive practices in promoting Lyrica® for off-label uses.

As part of the Consent Judgment, Pfizer Inc. agreed to reform how it markets and promotes Zyvox® and Lyrica®. Under the Consent Judgment, Pfizer Inc. shall not:

    * Make any false, misleading, or deceptive claims when comparing the efficacy or safety of Zyvox® to vancomycin;

    * Promote any Pfizer product for off-label uses;

    * Fail to design financial incentives that ensure that its marketing personnel are not motivated to engage in the improper marketing of Zyvox® or Lyrica®; or

    * Fail to notify its sales force promptly of any warning letter received from the FDA that affects sales representatives in the promotion of Pfizer products.

Of the amount Ohio will receive, $1.4 million will be deposited into the Consumer Protection Enforcement Fund and the remaining $100,000 will be utilized for the collection and destruction of confiscated prescription drugs and/or returned prescription drugs through the efforts of the Ohio Attorney General's Office drug take back program or similar drug collection program.

In addition to Ohio, other states participating include Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Pennsylvania,  Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas,Vermont, Washington, Virginia, and Wisconsin.

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