Wednesday, 12 12, 2012
Shelley Catharine Johnson
Deputy Communications Director
Attorney General Jack Conway today announced that he has joined 32 other Attorneys General in reaching a $42.9 million settlement with Pfizer Inc. to resolve allegations that the drug company unlawfully promoted its drugs Zyvox and Lyrica.
The Attorneys General allege that Pfizer 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 engaged in unfair and deceptive practices in promoting Lyrica® for off-label uses.
"My office remains committed to cracking down on pharmaceutical companies that put profits ahead of patients," General Conway said. "I believe this agreement sends a strong message to Pfizer and other big drug companies that deceiving the public and medical community is not tolerated."
As part of the Consent Judgment, filed today in Franklin Circuit Court, Pfizer agreed to reform how it markets and promotes Zyvox® and Lyrica®. Additionally, Pfizer 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.
Under the settlement, Kentucky will receive $922,419.
Participating in the settlement along with Kentucky are Alabama, Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Delaware, the District of Columbia, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Maryland, Michigan, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont, Washington, Virginia, and Wisconsin.
Since Attorney General Conway took office in January 2008, his Consumer Protection and Medicaid Fraud and Abuse Control Offices have recovered or been awarded nearly $275 million dollars. These cases range from lawsuits and settlements against pharmaceutical companies to cases against individual providers.
To report misleading or deceptive pharmaceutical promotions, contact General Conway's Consumer Protection Hotline at 1-888-432-9257. The Attorney General's Tip Line for reporting allegations of Medicaid fraud is 1-877-228-7384.