FRANKFORT, Ky. (Dec. 14, 2012) – Attorney General Jack Conway 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 because of MRSA. They also allege that Pfizer engaged in unfair and deceptive practices in promoting Lyrica for off-label uses.
“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,” Conway said.
As part of the consent judgment, filed Thursday 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.
To report misleading or deceptive pharmaceutical promotions, contact 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.