“This was a systematic, corporate effort to seek profit over safety,” Coats said.
By promoting the drug for treatment of other kinds of transplant patients, Wyeth, a subsidiary of pharmaceutical giant Pfizer, caused false or fraudulent Medicaid claims to be submitted, according to allegations contained in lawsuits brought against Wyeth by former employees, the federal government and participating states.
The lawsuits were filed in federal courts in Oklahoma and Pennsylvania. The civil settlement resolves two lawsuits pending in Oklahoma City federal court, authorities said.
Pfizer, which acquired Wyeth in 2009, was not the subject of the U.S. Justice Department investigation because Wyeth's criminal conduct ended in 2006, Coats said.
“Pfizer was not a subject or a target of this matter and cooperated fully with the government from the time we learned of this investigation in October 2009,” Christopher Loder, a Pfizer spokesman, said Tuesday. “Pfizer and its subsidiaries have practices and procedures that are designed to ensure its promotion and compliance meet or exceed the requirements of law.”