AG Gansler Reaches Medicaid Fraud Settlement with Pfizer
Illegal off-label marketing schemes promoted urology drug Detrol
MD ( Oct. 21, 2011) - Attorney General Douglas F. Gansler announced today that Maryland, as part of a $14 million global agreement, reached a settlement with pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer, Inc., of New York. The settlement concludes a government investigation into allegations that the company engaged in illegal off-label marketing schemes to promote the sales of its urology drug Detrol for uses that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (“FDA”). The settlement will return $12,724.82 to the State's Medicaid program.
“Illegally promoting the unapproved use of prescription drugs can put an already compromised patient in danger of serious health consequences,” said Attorney General Gansler.
Detrol was FDA-approved in March 1998 for the treatment of overactive bladder with symptoms of urge urinary incontinence, urgency and frequency. The settlement resolves allegations that Pfizer's promotional activities were designed by the company to increase the prescribing of Detrol for uses for which it was not approved in men. These uses included treatment for benign prostate hyperplasia, bladder outlet obstruction, and lower urinary tract symptoms.
The investigation began with a whistleblower lawsuit filed by two former Pfizer employees in US District Court in Boston, Massachusetts. The settlement is the result of a joint investigation by the United States Attorney's Office for the District of Massachusetts, the US Department of Justice, the whistleblowers' attorneys, and a team of representatives from the National Association of Medicaid Fraud Control Units.
The total value of the national civil settlement is $14 million, with $5,576,923 designated as Medicaid program recovery. The remaining portion of the civil recovery is for damages to other federally-funded health care programs, such as Medicare and Tricare.
In making the announcement, Attorney General Gansler would like to thank Medicaid Fraud Control Unit Chief Auditor Ruth Jarrell for her work on this investigation.