Pfizer fined for mis-selling drugs

Posted on the 3rd September 2009

The world’s largest drugs company, Pfizer, has been fined a record sum for making false claims about four prescription medicines. The company pleaded guilty to the charge and is paying a criminal fine of $1.3bn (almost £800m). It is also paying $1bn in civil settlements to health insurance companies to reimburse proper prescriptions.

Animal Aid’s 2008 report, Making a Killing: How drug company greed harms people and animals reveals that such behaviour is not uncommon in the sector and paints a compelling picture of morally bankrupt industry that has run out of control.

Pfizer settled civil allegations concerning improper payments to compliant doctors who are reported to have been wooed with trips to beach resorts, golfing activities and massages. In 2004, the company pleaded guilty to an earlier criminal charge of improper sales tactics.

The most recent fines are the result of a six-year investigation, which began when a drugs rep for the company became a whistleblower. John Kopchinski said: ‘At Pfizer, I was expected to increase profits at all costs, even when sales meant endangering lives.’

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