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States, Pfizer reach $43 million settlement over drug promotion
AUSTIN -- Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott announced that Texas and 32 other states have reached a $42.9 million settlement agreement with drug manufacturer Pfizer Inc. The agreement resolves a multistate fraud investigation into Pfizer’s unlawful promotion of two antibiotic drugs, Zyvox and Lyrica. Under the agreement, which will be formally approved as a consent judgment by a state district court, the state of Texas will receive $3.9 million.
In 2007, the states began investigating Pfizer for unlawfully marketing and promoting Zyvox. According to state investigators, Pfizer’s sales and marketing teams improperly claimed that Zyvox was superior to generic equivalent antibiotic drug Vancomycin.
The multi-state investigation also discovered that Pfizer unlawfully promoted Lyrica for “off-label” uses, which are uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The investigation found evidence that Pfizer marketed Lyrica as a treatment for types of neuropathic pain other than those indicated and approved by the FDA.
Under today’s agreement and the resulting consent judgment, Pfizer must reform how it markets and promotes Zyvox and Lyrica. Specifically, Pfizer Inc. must:
•Avoid making any false, misleading, or deceptive claims when comparing the efficacy or safety of Zyvox to the generic drug Vancomycin;
•Not promote any Pfizer product for off-label uses;
•Design financial incentives that ensure its marketing personnel are not motivated to engage in the improper marketing of Zyvox or Lyrica; or
•Notify its sales force of any FDA warning letter that could affect the promotion of Pfizer products and provide a detailed explanation of the FDA warning letter to the sales representatives as to how the letter affects their promotions.
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