Pfizer Settlement: An Over-the-Counter Drug Bust

Misleading ads aimed at patients deemed improper

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Pharmaceutical mega-corporation Pfizer has agreed to pay $2.3 billion in civil and criminal penalties for its unlawful drug promotions. The company will pay the largest health care fraud fine in history for aiming their advertising dollars at patients, not doctors; promoting off-label uses of their drugs without FDA approval; and creating and distributing phony "independent" medical educational materials. The products at the heart of the case include Bextra, a drug approved to treat arthritis but marketed for other uses; and Wellbutrin, an anti-depressant promoted as a smoking cessation aid. Pfizer's agreement to pay the penalty for their intent to defraud marks the culmination of a long and complex case. Tony West is the assistant attorney general for the Civil Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He worked on the case and joins us to talk about drugs, advertising, and the law.


Tony West


Hsi-Chang Lin

Comments [2]


They should release the names of the doctors. The public has the right to know if their doctor compromised their health in exchange for personal benefits provided by Pfizer.

Sep. 03 2009 09:37 AM
MK Ultra

The doctors have become nothing more than high-paid drug pushers for Big Pharma.

Sep. 03 2009 08:15 AM

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