Prizer settles Zyvox case with Ore. attorney general

Bryan Cohen Mar. 20, 2012, 1:51pm


SALEM, Ore. (Legal Newsline) - Oregon Attorney General John Kroger announced a $3.34 million settlement on Tuesday with Pfizer resolving allegations of deceptive drug marketing claims.

Pfizer allegedly used unsubstantiated and unreliable claims to promote Zyvox, a relatively new and expensive antibiotic used to treat certain types of bacterial skin infections and pneumonia. The settlement represents the largest consumer drug agreement Oregon has ever reached with a prescription drug manufacturer.

"Oregon will act when drug companies put public health at risk just to boost their profits," Kroger said.

Pfizer allegedly lacked evidence required by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to make claims that Zyvox was superior to vancomycin, a comparatively inexpensive drug that has been available for over 40 years and has the largest market share. Sales representatives for Pfizer allegedly distributed thousands of copies of the faulty studies throughout the state of Oregon in promoting Zyvox.

Pfizer's alleged conduct was a potential threat to public health because it increased the danger of microbial resistance to a second generation antibiotic when the first generation antibiotic was still effective. Infectious disease specialists advise using older antibiotics while they still have effectiveness in a process called antimicrobial stewardship, Kroger says.

Pfizer must pay more than $3.34 million to the state to fully reimburse the Oregon Department of Corrections and the State Accident Insurance Fund for Zyvox purchases they made and to fund a new Consumer Education and Antimicrobial Stewardship Program.

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