MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

July 31, 2013

State to get $700K in Pfizer settlement


Associated Press

— OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — A pharmaceutical company that has agreed to pay almost $491 million to settle allegations it illegally marketed an organ transplant drug will return more than $27 million to state health care programs, including about $700,000 to Oklahoma, a prosecutor said Tuesday.

U.S. Attorney Sanford Coats said the settlement agreement with Pfizer Inc. includes civil settlements with the federal government and the states totaling $257 million. About $230 million will go to the federal government and the rest will go to state Medicaid programs.

Pfizer also agreed to pay a criminal fine of $158 million and forfeit assets of $76 million.

The government alleged that Wyeth Pharmaceuticals, which was bought by Pfizer in 2009, promoted the drug Rapamune for unapproved uses. Some of those uses were not medically accepted and were not covered by Medicaid, Medicare and other federal health care programs.

In 1999 Wyeth received approval from the Food and Drug Administration for Rapamune to be used by kidney transplant patients. But prosecutors alleged that Wyeth trained its Rapamune sales force to promote use of the drug in patients who received transplants of other organs.