According to a United States District Court settlement agreement, “Pfizer has agreed to set up a $75 million fund and to create a new compliance committee to settle shareholders’ lawsuits accusing the board and top officials of failing to stop illegal marketing of its drugs,” The New York Times reports.
Although the pharmaceutical manufacturer “denied any wrongdoing as part of the preliminary settlement,” a “spokesman said the fund and committee would advance the regulatory and ethics work it had already started in recent years amid a series of government investigations,” the Times reports. The company’s denial of wrongdoing is still subject to judicial review, the article explains.
The “lead counsel for the institutional investors who brought the lawsuits,” Mark Lebovitch, explained that this “would be one of the largest derivative settlements ever and a good outcome for shareholders,” according to the New York Times.
The article goes on to explain that “The suits were filed after Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, settled federal marketing investigations in September 2009.” During those settlements, Pfizer paid out $2.3 billion to “settle claims that it had marketed numerous drugs for unapproved purposes,” the article reports. Included in that settlement was a $1.3 billion criminal fine for “illegal marketing of the painkiller Bextra, which was withdrawn from the market in 2005.”
The September 2009 illegal marketing case was Pfizer’s fourth settlement since 2002, the Times reports. In response, the newspaper explains the drug maker “brought in a powerhouse team in defense, including Robert B. Fiske Jr., the former United States attorney for the Southern District of New York, who had once employed the judge in the case, Jed S. Rakoff, as a federal prosecutor.”
According to the court filing, “About $22 million in lawyers’ fees for the plaintiffs, as well as expenses of up to $1.9 million, will be paid out of the $75 million fund,” the Times reports. The remainder of the fund, the New York Times explains, will “finance the new committee for five years.”
The article explains that the “Regulatory and Compliance Committee of the board would monitor legal, regulatory and marketing activities.”
Despite these recent cases against the pharmaceutical giant, Ray Kerins, a Pfizer spokesman, claims that “‘Pfizer’s directors and officers acted with integrity throughout this entire process, and we maintain strongly that plaintiffs’ case has no merit,’” the site reports. However, Lebovitch and his clients are not convinced, the Times reports. According to the news source, the lead counsel explains that the important question remains: “‘Where was the board when this was going on?’”
If you or a loved one has experienced health complications or illness while using a Pfizer product, contact Newsome Law Firm and fill out a case evaluation form today. Our team of attorneys has experience specific to complications associated with prescription medication. Not only can they give you the legal guidance you need, they can help you get the compensation you deserve.
Wilson, Duff (December 3, 2010) “Pfizer Plans $75 Million Fund to Address Shareholder Suits.” Retrieved on December 6, 2010 from The New York Times.