—Pfizer's Wyeth unit in mid-August reached a tentative agreement with the Justice Department to pay $55 million plus interest to end a federal criminal investigation of its promotion of severe heartburn drug Protonix from February 2000 through June 2001.
—In October, Pfizer entered an agreement in principle with the consumer protection divisions of several states to pay about $43 million to end civil investigations without Pfizer admitting wrongdoing. The case concerns promotion of Lyrica, a blockbuster drug for fibromyalgia and other pain, and Zyvox, an antibiotic for MRSA infections. Pfizer expects final agreements to be reached within months.
—In November, Pfizer entered an agreement in principle to pay $4.8 million to end class action lawsuits pending in Canada that alleged Pfizer failed to warn patients about the dangers of its epilepsy drug Neurontin, which has been linked to suicide, attempted suicide and other injuries. The deal requires court approval after the parties produce a final settlement agreement.
Like most big drugmakers with deep pockets, Pfizer faces many lawsuits regarding issues including the safety of its products and marketing practices.
Among those pending, Pfizer noted, is a potential federal class action suit filed in March alleging Pfizer improperly offered co-payment programs encouraging patients to continue buying cholesterol fighter Lipitor and other brand-name Pfizer drugs, rather than less-expensive generic versions. The plaintiffs allege that increased reimbursement costs for payers such as health insurers and violated antitrust laws. They are seeking damages triple those "excess reimbursement costs."
Linda A. Johnson can be followed at http://twitter.com/LindaJ_onPharma.