Blank Rome LLP represented three whistleblowers in two of nine lawsuits being settled today with Pfizer for $2.3 billion. The Blank Rome suits allege that Pfizer Inc. illegally off-label promoted the drugs Lyrica® and Geodon®. The cases are two among a group of nine similar suits, all alleging illegal drug promotion activities, that the United States Department of Justice is announcing today are being settled. The settlement is the largest in the U.S. for claims of off-label marketing practices. Pfizer, through its Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. subsidiary, will plead guilty to one criminal count stemming from the improper promotion of its drug Bextra®, and pay a $1.3 billion penalty that is part of the total agreement.
The Blank Rome suits were filed in Boston, MA, and coordinated through the Boston U.S. Attorney’s office, working closely with the U.S. Department of Justice and various state attorneys’ general offices.
The Blank Rome team was led by W. Scott Simmer and Thomas J. Poulin, and included assistance from partners Nicholas C. Harbist and Paul M. Honigberg. “Our clients came forward to raise an issue of what they believed to be wrongdoing, and when they felt that Pfizer hadn’t appropriately responded, they acted by bringing whistleblower claims against the company,” said Scott Simmer. The Geodon® settlement is $301 million and the Lyrica® settlement is $48.2 million. “Our clients are pleased with the terms of the settlement.”