The U.S. Justice Department has filed a motion to join a whistle-blower lawsuit alleging Wyeth, now a Pfizer subsidiary, engaged in a variety of marketing tactics to promote unapproved uses of the transplant immunosuppressant Rapamune.
Feds seek to join whistle-blower case about marketing of transplant drug
The lawsuit was filed in U.S. District Court in Philadelphia in 2005 by former Wyeth account managers Marlene Sandler and Scott Paris. In a motion filed today, the government asked the court for permission to join the case. A memorandum explaining the move was filed under seal.
Sandler and Paris allege that Wyeth used physician education and payments and other incentives to physicians to persuade them to adopt a variety of uses for Rapamune, which the Food and Drug Administration approved only for patients receiving kidney transplants.
Pfizer acquired Wyeth last year in a $68 billion deal. A company spokesman could not be reached at deadline for comment.
The U.S. attorney's office in Philadelphia has aggressively pursued pharmaceutical cases, extracting a $615 million criminal fine and civil settlement with Eli Lilly involving the marketing of Zypreza. The office also landed a $301 million settlement involving Pfizer's marketing of Geodon, which was part of a record $2.3 billion criminal fine and civil settlement resolving a variety of allegations against the company.
Pfizer issued a written statement noting that the company previously disclosed it was cooperating with a government investigation involving Rapamune. "Our labeling information includes the appropriate caveats about treatment areas where safety and efficacy have not been established," the company said in the statement.
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