For those working in the legal fight against evildoers whose actions hurt people and their loved ones and impact families’ futures for a lifetime, stories like this are not surprising. Legal secretaries aren’t shocked that Big Corporations put profits over people; paralegals have seen numerous examples of products that were put out into the marketplace which turned out to hurt or maybe even kill unsuspecting victims. Lawyers read case after case where legal fights are fought, if not where the Big Company is denying liability, then where the Big Company is trying to keep how much money it has to pay in damages as low as possible.
It’s true in trucking accidents and job site injuries and wrongful death car crashes. It’s something that Kenneth J. Allen & Associates knows all too well because it’s something that we all see, all too often. However, it serves us all to keep vigilant to these things, and to let you know about justice when it occurs.
And, this week, there’s yet another example of injustice being fought as U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder issued a press release to announce the federal government’s settlement with Pfizer Inc. over False Claims Act allegations tied to Pfizer’s marketing of its drug, Detrol. (Pfizer doesn’t have a news release about the settlement on its website.)
It is interesting to note that Pfizer is already known as a “repeat offender” after entering a guilty plea two years ago in what is considered to be the biggest known fraud in U.S. health care, with Pfizer getting zapped with the biggest criminal penalty ever levied against a defendant for the illegal marketing of four drugs (Bextra; Geodon; Zyvox; and Lyrica). At that point, Pfizer was entering into its 4th settlement on this type of thing with the feds.
Pfizer to Pay $14,500,000 for False Claims About Detrol, a medicine for overactive bladder problems
The Department of Justice worked this case and got this settlement because of the brave acts of some whistleblowers, who filed a series of qui tam, or whistleblower, suits. This settlement involves the last of those suits; the others were taken care of in the federal government’s big overall settlement with Pfizer, where Pfizer agreed to pay $2.3 billion to resolve criminal charges as well as numerous civil products liability actions against it, involving several of its drug products.
What did Pfizer do this time? Here, the case involves the feds asserting that Pfizer illegally marketed Detrol for uses that the FDA had not approved as being safe and/or effective: these included its use by men suffering from benign prostatic hypertrophy, bladder outlet obstruction, and lower urinary tract problems.
Yet Another Example of a Person Trusting a Product That Can Hurt Him
Products liability law exists in every state in this country, passed by state legislatures because companies cannot be trusted to put products into the marketplace for sale that are safe and effective for their intended use. The Food and Drug Administration exists to police the same sort of thing, as an arm of the federal government with the ability to file criminal charges against offenders.
However, marketing power is strong in this country and Americans like to think the best of everyone. When products are bought at the store, including drugs — maybe especially drugs — people trust that the product is safe for them to use. This trust is, sadly, all too often misplaced as the continuing story of Pfizer’s litigation (and that of all of Big Pharma) reveals.
If you are suspicious of any type of product, then investigate that suspicion. Your instincts may be right and the product may be dangerous. Seek medical help – and legal help if you have been harmed or damaged. Products do hurt people.
Be careful out there.