Pfizer pays $2.3B penalty for off-label drug marketing

Pfizer has agreed to pay a mammoth $3.2 billion penalty for marketing off-label uses of several of its drugs, a settlement which the U.S. Department of Justice has labeled the largest healthcare fraud settlement in the country's history.

Drugs named in the settlement, included painkiller Bextra, which has been off the market since 2005 in the wake of potential heart risks; antipsychotic Geodon; antibiotic Zyvox; and anti-epileptic drug Lyrica.

In addition to the financial penalty, Pfizer has agreed to an extensive corporate integrity agreement with HHS's Office of the Inspector General, establishing procedures and reviews that are designed to prevent further occurrences of the problem.

The suit springs from a series of whistleblower suits filed under the False Claims Act. As part of the resolution of this case, six whistleblowers are to receive payments of more than $201 million from the federal share of the fines.

To learn more about the case:
- read this U.S. DoJ press release

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