Two subsidiaries of Pfizer Inc. have agreed to pay fines totaling $34.7 million for offering a kickback to recommend company drugs and for illegally promoting the human growth hormone product Genotropin for nonapproved uses, according to federal prosecutors in a Boston Globe article.
Prosecutors allege that Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. offered to overpay a subsidiary of a pharmacy benefit manager by $12.3 million in the hope the company would, in turn, recommend Pharmacia's drug products to its clients.
In a Press Release by the U.S. Attorney's Office in Massachusetts, U.S. Attorney Michael Sullivan, states that “It is important for the public to recognize that growth hormone has not been shown to be safe and effective for anti-aging, cosmetic or athletic uses, and it must not be promoted for such uses. Sullivan noted that Pfizer, acted responsibly when it self-disclosed to various federal government agencies, in May 2003, PHARMACIA’s unlawful promotion of human growth hormone.
Whistleblower, Peter Rost, former Vice President at Pfizer had a different spin on the events. He told the Corporate Crime Reporter "The Justice Department praised Pfizer for self-reporting; but Pfizer would have done nothing if I didn’t twist its arm. I was floored when I read the press release. They have one guy who lost his career, lost his job for doing the right thing. That would be me. And they praised the company that fired me?”