A whistleblower who was involved in last week’s record breaking $2.3 billion Pfizer settlement was represented by the Great Neck, NY law firm of Parker Waichman Alonso LLP. The whistleblower lawsuit alleged that Pfizer illegally promoted the off-label use of the antipsychotic medication <"http://www.yourlawyer.com/topics/overview/geodon">Geodon.
“We are proud of our client and the other relators who stepped forward to expose Pfizer’s wrongdoing, and helped to make this settlement possible,” said David Krangle, an attorney with Parker Waichman Alonso LLP. “We are also proud that our firm was able to play a part in obtaining justice for American taxpayers.”
The Parker Waichman Alonso lawsuit was one of nine settled by the U.S. Department of Justice that charged Pfizer illegally marketed Geodon, as well as the pain killer Bextra; Zyvox, an antibiotic; and Lyrica, an anti-epileptic drug. The civil settlement also resolves allegations that Pfizer paid kickbacks to health care providers to induce them to prescribe these, as well as other, drugs.
As we reported last week, the $2.3 billion settlement is the largest healthcare fraud settlement in the history of the U.S. Department of Justice. The Geodon portion of the settlement was $301 million.
Under the terms of the settlement, Pfizer subsidiary Pharmacia & Upjohn Company Inc. has also agreed to plead guilty to a felony violation that it illegally promoted the off-label use of Bextra. Pharmacia & Upjohn will pay $1.3 billion toward the total settlement.
Pfizer also has agreed to enter into an expansive corporate integrity agreement with the Office of Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services. That agreement provides for procedures and reviews to be put in place to avoid and promptly detect conduct similar to that which gave rise to this matter, the Justice Department said.
Whistleblower lawsuits are filed under the False Claims Act, a federal law that empowers people to file lawsuits against federal contractors claiming fraud against the government. Successful whistleblowers can receive a portion of the damages recovered. According to the Department of Justice, the whistleblowers involved in last week’s Pfizer settlement will receive $102 million of the federal fines.