Bloomberg reports that Pfizer Inc. was recently ordered to pay $142.1 million in damages to Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Kaiser Foundation Health Plan Inc. for violating United States laws regarding racketeering that relate to the company’s marketing of Neurontin.
Pfizer is the largest drug manufacturer in the world, and a jury in Boston found that the company illegally promoted Neurontin for “unapproved uses.” Under the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act of 1970 (RICO), the judge tripled the $47.3 million award from the jury, bringing the total to $142.1 million, but denied Kaiser’s request for the $76 million in interest on the award.
Neurontin was approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration in 1993 for epilepsy. Officials from Kaiser alleged they were deceived by Pfizer to believe that the drug could also effectively treat bipolar disorder and migraines. Kaiser also claimed it was forced to pay more than $90 million more for the drug than it should have.
Kaiser is the first insurer to bring a case against Pfizer regarding Neurontin to trial. Currently, the drug manufacturer is facing over 300 lawsuits that accuse the company of illegally promoting the drug, or that they hid health risks associated with the drug. Former Neurontin users contend that Pfizer was aware that the drug posed a suicide risk and failed to disclose the information to doctors and patients. According to the article, the drug company has settled at least two lawsuits that alleged Neurontin was a factor in users’ suicides, and paid at least $400,000 in one of the suits.
In 2009, Pfizer paid $2.3 billion in fines after an investigation by the U.S. Justice Department discovered the drug manufacturer had illegally marketed Bextra, Geodon, Zyvox and Lyrica by “misbranding with the intent to defraud or mislead.” It was the largest settlement in Justice Department history.
If you have suffered because you have taken Neurontin or another dangerous or misrepresented drug, contact the product liability lawyers Philadelphia at Anapol Weiss. Our attorneys have successfully handled a wide variety of pharmaceutical litigation cases and will work hard to ensure that you are compensated fairly. To learn how we can help you, call 866-735-2792 today.