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Pfizer agrees to $35 million multi-state settlement

By Bryan Cohen | Aug 7, 2014

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FRANKFORT, Ky. (Legal Newsline) - Kentucky Attorney General Jack Conway announced a $35 million multi-state settlement with Pfizer Inc. on Wednesday to resolve allegations that one of its subsidiaries unlawfully promoted a kidney transplant drug.

Wyeth Pharmaceuticals Inc. allegedly misrepresented the uses and benefits of Rapamune, an immunosuppressive drug currently approved by the Food and Drug Administration for use after kidney transplant surgery to counteract organ rejection. Wyeth allegedly promoted the unapproved use of Rapamune following organ transplants other than kidney transplants, the use of Rapamune in unapproved drug combinations and the unapproved protocol of converting patients to Rapamune after first receiving a different drug.

Under the terms of the consent judgment, Pfizer will pay $35 million to the 43 settling states, which includes a $606,391.35 payment to the state of Kentucky.

“I will continue to protect Kentuckians from drug companies that put profits over patients,” Conway said. “Marketing of pharmaceuticals that have not been approved based on sound evidence for a particular use can be a dangerous and even deadly practice.”

The agreement also requires Pfizer to ensure its promotional and marketing practices do not unlawfully promote any Pfizer products. Prohibited practices include using false, misleading or deceptive claims regarding any Pfizer products; promoting Pfizer products for off-label uses; and making claims that are not supported by substantial evidence.

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