For Immediate Release - October 20, 2011

Pharmaceutical Giant Pfizer to Return More Than $177,000 to Massachusetts Medicaid Program

Part of National Settlement Negotiated by AG Coakley’s Office and the USDOJ

BOSTON – Pharmaceutical manufacturer Pfizer, Inc. has agreed to pay more than $177,000 to the Massachusetts Medicaid program as part of a nationwide settlement over allegations of illegal off-label marketing, Attorney General Martha Coakley announced today.

The settlement with the international drug manufacturer resolves allegations that the company engaged in illegal off-label marketing schemes to promote sales of its urology drug Detrol for uses that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

“The Massachusetts Medicaid program provides valuable health care services to thousands in need,” AG Coakley said.  “Illegal marketing by pharmaceutical companies undermines this system and deceives individuals that depend on these drugs to sustain their health and quality of life.” 

The settlement will return $177,461.74 to the MassHealth program, which provides funds for health care products and services to eligible low-income individuals, including people with disabilities, children and elder citizens.

Detrol was FDA approved in March 1998 for the treatment of overactive bladder with symptoms of urge urinary incontinence, urgency and frequency.  The settlement resolves allegations that Pfizer’s promotional activities were designed by the company to increase the prescribing of Detrol for uses in men for which it was not approved.  These uses included treatment for benign prostate hyperplasia (BPH), bladder outlet obstruction (BOO) and lower urinary tract symptoms (LUTS).   The investigation began with a whistleblower lawsuit filed by two former Pfizer employees in US District Court in Boston, Massachusetts. 

AG Coakley’s office led the multi-state settlement negotiating Team, working in cooperation with the United States Attorney’s Office for the District of Massachusetts, the United States Department of Justice, the relators’ attorneys and representatives of the attorneys general of the states of Ohio and New York, to secure this national settlement.

The Massachusetts recovery is part of a national settlement that will return more than $5.5 million to the Medicaid programs of 49 states and the District of Columbia and approximately $9 million to other federally-funded health care programs. 

Assistant Attorney General Robert Patten of AG Coakley’s Medicaid Fraud Division served as leader of the state negotiating team in this national settlement.  He was assisted by Assistant Attorney General Joshua Orr and Data Analyst Anthony Megathlin, also of the Medicaid Fraud Division, and by Assistant Attorneys General and data analysts from Ohio and New York.