OLYMPIA – Attorney General Rob McKenna announced today that Washington state has reached a settlement with pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer, Inc., concluding a government investigation into allegations that the company engaged in illegal off-label marketing schemes to promote the sales of its urology drug Detrol for uses that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).
Detrol was FDA approved in 1998 for the treatment of overactive bladder with symptoms of urinary incontinence, urgency and frequency. The settlement resolves allegations that Pfizer’s promotional activities were designed to increase the prescribing of Detrol for unapproved uses, including treatment of benign prostate hyperplasia, bladder outlet obstruction and lower urinary tract symptoms. The investigation began with a whistleblower lawsuit filed by two former Pfizer employees in U.S. District Court in Boston.
Out of a $76,440 settlement, more than $38,000 is split between the state’s Medicaid program and the general fund. The rest is returned to the federal government, which jointly funds the state-administered Medicaid program. Settlement amounts are calculated based on how much was improperly spent on the drugs in each state during the time in question.
The settlement is the result of a joint investigation by the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, the U.S. Department of Justice, private attorneys, and a team of representatives from the Medicaid Fraud Control Units of Massachusetts, New York and Ohio.
The total value of the national civil settlement is $14 million, with $5,576,923 designated as Medicaid program recovery. The remaining portion of the civil recovery is for damages to other federally-funded healthcare programs.
Janelle Guthrie, Director of Communications, (360) 586-0725