For Immediate Release
Media Contact: Bob Cooper
(208) 334-4112

Date: December 12, 2012

Idaho Will Receive $732,000 to Resolve False Drug Promotion Claims

(Boise) – Idaho will receive $732,000 from a legal settlement with Pfizer Inc, Attorney General Lawrence Wasden said today. The settlement resolves allegations that Pfizer unlawfully promoted its drugs, Zyvox and Lyrica. In the settlement with Idaho and 32 other states, Pfizer agreed to pay $42.9 million to resolve allegations, but admitted no wrongdoing.

The attorneys general allege that Pfizer engaged in misleading and deceptive practices in its promotion of Zyvox. Zyvox is an antibacterial agent approved to treat certain types of infections, including nosocomial pneumonia caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus ("MRSA") and complicated skin and skin structure infections due to MRSA. The attorneys general alleged that Pfizer made misleading and unsubstantiated superiority claims that broadened the indications for Zyvox.

Additionally, the states alleged that Pfizer promoted Lyrica for off-label uses. Lyrica is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat certain types of neuropathy and fibromyalgia. Physicians may lawfully prescribe drugs for off-label uses, but it is unlawful for manufacturers to promote drugs for uses other than those approved by the Food and Drug Administration.

As part of the Consent Judgment, Pfizer agreed to change how it markets and promotes Zyvox and Lyrica 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.

Since taking office in 2003, Wasden has recovered more than $50 million for Idaho in 39 settlements with pharmaceutical manufacturers who have violated a variety of state and federal laws.

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