Pfizer, a drug company which appears to have won the lottery to produce the first Covid-19 vaccine, is currently battling hundreds of lawsuits over Zantac, a popular heartburn medication. Zantac lawsuits claim the popular drug can be contaminated with a cancer-causing substance called N-nitrosodimethylamine (NDMA). The Zantac suits are open-ended and ongoing, as the drug maker is fighting them; but Pfizer has, we know, committed several crimes or transgressions for which it has been punished in recent years. The company’s failings are well documented and worth reviewing at this critical time in human history as we all search for answers.
· Pfizer received the biggest fine in U.S. history as part of a $2.3 Billion plea deal with federal prosecutors for mis-promoting medicines (Bextra, Celebrex) and paying kickbacks to compliant doctors. Pfizer pleaded guilty to mis-branding the painkiller Bextra by promoting the drug for uses for which it was not approved.
· In the 1990s, Pfizer was involved in defective heart valves that lead to the deaths of more than 100 people. Pfizer had deliberately misled regulators about the hazards. The company agreed to pay $10.75 Million to settle justice department charges for misleading regulators.
· Pfizer paid more than $60 Million to settle a lawsuit over Rezulin, a diabetes medication that caused patients to die from acute liver failure.
· In the UK, Pfizer has been fined nearly €90 Million for overcharging the NHS, the National Health Service. Pfizxer charged the taxpayer an additional €48 Million per year for what should have cost €2 million per year.
· Pfizer agreed to pay $430 Million in 2004 to settle criminal charges that it had bribed doctors to prescribe its epilepsy drug Neurontin for indications for which it was not approved.
· In 2011, a jury found Pfizer committed racketeering fraud in its marketing of the drug Neurontin. Pfizer agreed to pay $142.1 Million to settle the charges.
· Pfizer disclosed that it had paid nearly nearly 4,500 doctors and other medical professionals some $20 Million for speaking on Pfizer’s behalf.
· In 2012, the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had reached a $45 Million settlement with Pfizer to resolve charges that its subsidiaries had bribed overseas doctors and other healthcare professionals to increase foreign sales.
· Pfizer was sued in a U.S. federal court for using Nigerian children as human guinea pigs, without the childrens’ parents’ consent. Pfizer paid $75 Million to settle in Nigerian court for using an experimental antibiotic, Trovan, on the children. The company paid an additional undisclosed amount in the U.S. to settle charges here. Pfizer had violated international law, including the Nuremberg Convention established after WWII, due to Nazi experiments on unwilling prisoners.
· Amid widespread criticism of gouging poor countries for drugs, Pfizer pledged to give $50 million for an AIDS drug to South Africa. Later, however, Pfizer failed to honor that promise.