Pfizer agrees to $42.9 million multi-state settlement

Pa. to get $2 million for deceptive marketing of Zyvox, Lyrica 

Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly announced a settlement with Pfizer Inc. over deceptive drug marketing practices.

HARRISBURG – Pennsylvania  joined 32 attorneys general in a $42.9 million multi-state settlement with Pfizer Inc., resolving allegations that the company unlawfully promoted its drugs, Zyvox and Lyrica, Pennsylvania Attorney General Linda Kelly said Wednesday.

In a news release, Kelly said that Pfizer engaged in unfair and deceptive practices to promote the prescription drug Zyvox by making misleading and unsubstantiated claims of the drug’s superiority that expanded the indications for the drug. Zyvox is an antibacterial agent approved to treat certain types of infections; including nosocomial pneumonia caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (commonly known as “MRSA”) and complicated skin and skin structure infections due to MRSA.

The multi-state investigation also accuses Pfizer Inc. of engaging in unconscionable and deceptive marketing of Lyrica for various off-label uses. Lyrica is a pain reliever approved by the FDA to treat certain types of neuropathy and neuralgia, the release said.

As part of the consent judgment, the release said Pfizer agrees to reform how it markets and promotes Zyvox and Lyrica and agrees to several conditions, including not making any false, misleading, or deceptive claims when comparing the efficacy or safety of Zyvox to vancomycin; avoiding promoting any Pfizer product for off-label uses; and making sure failing its marketing personnel are not financially motivated to engage in the improper marketing of Zyvox or Lyrica.

According to the release, Pennsylvania will receive more than $2 million as part of the settlement, which will be used for future consumer protection purposes.

The investigation was led by the Texas attorney general, with an executive committee consisting of the attorneys general of Arizona, Illinois, Maryland, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and South Carolina. Also participating in the settlement are Alabama, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, Virginia, and Wisconsin, the release said.

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