Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Pfizer Pleads Guilty, Pays $491 Million Over Rapamune Marketing

A Pfizer Inc. (PFE) unit will pay $491 million and plead guilty to a federal charge tied to its illegal marketing of the kidney transplant drug Rapamune for use in other organ transplants, U.S. prosecutors said. Pfizer’s Wyeth unit pleaded guilty to one count of misbranding the drug and agreed to pay a $157.5 million criminal fine over its push to sell it for unapproved uses, the Justice Department said today in a statement.

Wyeth also will forfeit assets worth $76 million as part of the plea, the government’s lawyers said. “This was a systemic, corporate effort to seek profit over safety,” Sanford Coats, the U.S. Attorney in Oklahoma City, said in the statement. The investigation into Wyeth’s Rapamune marketing was handled by Coats’ office. The drugmaker will also pay more than $257 million to resolve civil claims that it trained its sales force to sell Rapamune to doctors who performed heart, lung, liver and pancreas transplants. Federal regulators only approved the drug in 1999 for use in kidney transplant patients.

The case is U.S. ex. rel. Campbell v. Wyeth Inc., No. 07-51, U.S. District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma (Oklahoma City).

To contact the reporter on this story: Jef Feeley in Wilmington, Delaware at jfeeley@bloomberg.net. To contact the editor responsible for this story: Michael Hytha at mhytha@bloomberg.net.


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