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DOJ Backs Whistleblower in Lipitor Case

DOJ Backs Whistleblower in Lipitor Case

 

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Jesse Polansky, a former Pfizer employee, is re-filing a case against Pfizer claiming that they illegally marketed the popular cholesterol-reducing drug Lipitor.

When Polansky original filed the case, U.S. District Judge Edward Korman of Brooklyn, New York dismissed it by ruling that the lawsuit failed to identify any doctor who was a recipient of Pfizer’s off-label marketing tactics.

While the Department of Justice is not intervening in the case, they are helping Polansky’s case by filing a “Statement of interest” backing up Polansky’s claims.  The DOJ’s brief also claims that the makers of Lipitor participated in kickbacks.

According to Polansky, Pfizer fraudulently promoted Lipitor to people with mild or moderate cholesterol conditions, increasing their number of patients by 14.6 million. Polanksy says Pfizer misled doctors with labels, educational programs, software, and manipulating federal guidelines to encourage doctors to prescribe Lipitor to people who did not need it.

Polansky reports many incidences of Pfizer’s illegal tactics. In one instance, a sales rep is quoted as being instructed to pretend that there were no significant side effects of the drug. In another instance, Pfizer distributed software to doctors called the “Lipid Goal Manager” which was supposed to be a tool for the doctors in determining which patients were in need of treatment. According to Polansky, the software was rigged as it marked patients with certain cholesterol indicators as in need of treatment when they weren’t necessarily.

In 2009, Lipitor had $11.4 billion in sales, which was 8 percent less than in 2008.

Sources:

“DOJ Aids Lipitor Whistleblower Lawsuit but Declines to Intervene

http://www.aboutlawsuits.com/doj-lipitor-whistleblower-lawsuit-brief-13069/

“Lawsuit Claims Pfizer Deceived Doctors Into Prescribing Its Cholesterol Drug Lipitor

http://www.bnet.com/blog/drug-business/lawsuit-claims-pfizer-deceived-doctors-into-prescribing-its-cholesterol-drug-lipitor/4207

“Pfizer Wins Dismissal of Lipitor False-Claims Lawsuit

http://www.bloomberg.com/apps/news?pid=newsarchive&sid=a8DEY0DvbZIY

 
 
 

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