Navigation Links
Bextra Whistleblower Case Started Investigation of Pfizer
Date:9/2/2009

WASHINGTON, Sept. 2 /PRNewswire/ -- The decision by a Pfizer sales representative in Florida to file a whistleblower ("qui tam") lawsuit in 2003 kicked off the federal and state investigations that led to Pfizer's record-breaking $2.3 billion settlement today.

"In the Army, I was expected to protect people at all costs," said the whistleblower, John Kopchinski, a West Point graduate and Gulf War veteran. "At Pfizer I was expected to increase profits at all costs, even when sales meant endangering lives. I couldn't do that."

The largest piece of the settlement -- $1.8 billion -- is solely due to Pfizer's improper "off-labeling" marketing of Bextra that Kopchinski exposed through his qui tam lawsuit. Pfizer is paying $502 million to settle civil charges and an historic $1.3 billion criminal fine both relating to Bextra marketing.

The FDA approved Bextra to treat arthritis as well as menstrual pain in very limited doses. Kopchinski alleged in his qui tam lawsuit -- which the government joined -- that Pfizer promoted Bextra for uses and in doses that far exceeded what the FDA had approved. This put patients at risk for serious health problems such as heart attack, stroke and pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lung). The lawsuit also said that Bextra paid doctors kickbacks in various ways to influence them to prescribe and endorse Bextra for these "off-label" uses. Bextra was withdrawn from the market in 2005.

"Even though the FDA rejected Pfizer's application to sell Bextra for certain uses because of serious health risks, Pfizer had the gall to push those uses anyway using misleading information," said Erika A. Kelton, a Washington, D.C. lawyer whose firm, Phillips & Cohen LLP, represents the whistleblower. "Ignoring serious health risks to increase sales is outrageous."

(For details about the allegations involving Bextra, see Kopchinski's qui tam complaint on the Phillips & Cohen website at www.phillipsandcohen.com.)

As provided by the False Claims Act, the federal government will award Kopchinski $51.5 million as a reward for the work he and his attorneys did on the case. He also will receive an undetermined reward under state false claims laws.

Ironically, Kopchinski was personally hired as a sales representative in 1992 by Edward Pratt, the chairman and chief executive officer of Pfizer at that time, after Kopchinski began corresponding with Pratt while serving as an Army officer in the Gulf War. Kopchinski worked for Pfizer for 11 years.

"It was wrong what Pfizer told its sales representatives to do," Kopchinski said. "Fortunately, once the government found out what was going on, it acted quickly to protect patients."

Attorney Kelton praised the work of the U.S. Department of Justice -- particularly Assistant U.S. Attorney Sara Bloom and Trial Attorney Sanjay Bhambhani -- and the National Medicaid Fraud Control Units team, headed by Massachusetts Assistant Attorney General Robert Patten.

Kopchinski expressed gratitude to the government and to his wife for her support throughout the six years he pursued the case. "The past six years have been very stressful," he said. "I'm glad it's finally over."

About Phillips & Cohen LLP

Phillips & Cohen LLP is the most successful law firm representing whistleblowers in the nation. "Qui tam" lawsuits brought by Phillips & Cohen have resulted in civil and criminal recoveries totaling $5.2 billion. The firm's attorneys are regularly recognized for their successful work on whistleblower cases with inclusion on such lists as the Top 10 "Winning Attorneys" in the U.S., the "100 Most Influential Lawyers" and the National Law Journal's "Hot List" of plaintiffs' law firms. For more information, see www.phillipsandcohen.com.


'/>"/>
SOURCE Phillips & Cohen LLP
Copyright©2009 PR Newswire.
All rights reserved

Related medicine news :

1. $89 Million Proposed Class Action Settlement Provides Consumers and Insurers With Money Back for Celebrex and Bextra Purchases and Reimbursements
2. Sheller, P.C. Law Firm Instrumental in Pfizers $2.3 Billion Settlement Today in Largest Pharmaceutical Whistleblower Case in History
3. Health Insurance Whistleblower Urges Obama Health Chiefs to Join Him at Free Urban Health Care Expedition in L.A. Stadium
4. CIGNA Whistleblower Calls for More Heath Insurance Accountability in Heath Care Reform
5. Smithsonian Worker Exposed to Asbestos Files Whistleblower Retaliation Complaint
6. Nationally Recognized Medicaid Fraud Prosecutor Tim Terry Joins Successful Whistleblower Law Practice, Specializing in "Qui Tam" Citizen Suits Under False Claims Acts
7. Law Firm Freedland Russo Spearheads Record-Setting Whistleblower Case Against Pharmaceutical Giant Eli Lilly -- Firm Expands Offices to Include L.A. Entertainment Branch
8. The Largest Pharma Fraud Whistleblower Case in U.S. History Totaling $1.4 Billion
9. Whistleblowers Complaints Lead Eli Lilly to Pay $800 Million to Settle Civil Medicaid Fraud Charges, According to Berg & Androphy
10. Pennsylvania Hospital Pays $1.9 Million to Settle Medicare Fraud Case Brought by Whistleblower
11. Walgreens Pays $35 Million, Settles Pharmacist-Whistleblower Qui Tam Drug Switching Allegations
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:6/27/2016)... California (PRWEB) , ... June ... ... pioneer in the patient payment industry today announced its strategic partnership with ... health system workflows. , The two companies’ proven, proprietary technology combine to ...
(Date:6/26/2016)... ... ... Pixel Film Studios Released ProSlice Levels, a Media Slicing Effect Plugin ... whole new perspective by using the title layers in ProSlice Levels to split-up ... Levels contains over 30 Different presets to choose from. FCPX users can ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... ... ... Austin residents seeking Mohs surgery services, can now turn to Dr. Jessica Scruggs ... for medical and surgical dermatology. , Dr. Dorsey brings specialization to include Mohs surgery, ... Micrographic Surgery completed by Dr. Dorsey was under the direction of Glenn Goldstein, MD, ...
(Date:6/25/2016)... Oklahoma City, Oklahoma (PRWEB) , ... June 25, ... ... to helping both athletes and non-athletes recover from injury. Recently, he has implemented ... for the Oklahoma City area —Johnson is one of the first doctors to ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... ... 2016 , ... June 19, 2016 is World Sickle Cell Observance Day. In ... benefits of holistic treatments, Serenity Recovery Center of Marne, Michigan, has issued ... Sickle Cell Disease (SCD) is a disorder of the red blood cells, which can ...
Breaking Medicine News(10 mins):
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016  Collagen Matrix, Inc., ... development and manufacturing of collagen and mineral based ... today that Bill Messer has joined ... to further leverage the growing portfolio of oral ... Bill joins the Collagen Matrix executive ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... , June 24, 2016   Bay ... Rehabilitation Network,s Dean Center for Tick Borne ... Medicine and Rehabilitation, MIT Hacking Medicine, University of ... Innovation, today announced the five finalists of ... Lyme disease.  More than 100 scientists, clinicians, researchers, ...
(Date:6/24/2016)... June 24, 2016 Research ... "Structural Electronics 2015-2025: Applications, Technologies, Forecasts" ... In-Mold Electronics, Smart Skin, Structural Health ... Structural electronics involves electronic and/or electrical ... structures, replacing dumb structures such as vehicle bodies ...
Breaking Medicine Technology: