December 9th, 2013
Pfizer Rejected by High Court on Neurontin Marketing Suits
By Greg Stohr
The U.S. Supreme Court left intact a $142 million award against Pfizer Inc.(PFE:US) and let two similar suits go forward with claims that the drugmaker defrauded insurers by illegally marketing its Neurontin epilepsy drug.
The justices without comment today rejected Pfizer’s appeal, letting stand three connected federal appeals court decisions. The cases are part of the fallout from a 2004 guilty plea by Pfizer’s Warner-Lambert unit to charges that it promoted Neurontin for unapproved “off-label’” uses.
The rebuff means a nationwide class-action suit can proceed, seeking damages on behalf of insurers, union funds and employers who paid for ineffective dosages of Neurontin. Pfizer must also defend against a suit by Aetna Inc. (AET:US), which says it paid for more than a million off-label Neurontin prescriptions. In addition, the world’s biggest drugmaker lost its challenge to a $142 million jury award won by the Kaiser Foundation’s health plan and hospitals.