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Attorney General Sorrell Announces That Pfizer Will Pay Vermont $611,000 As Part Of Zyvox And Lyrica Settlement

CONTACT: Jill Abrams, Assistant Attorney General, (802) 828-5479

February 19, 2013

Attorney General William H. Sorrell announced today that Vermont has reached a settlement with Pfizer Inc to resolve allegations that Pfizer Inc unlawfully promoted its Zyvox® and Lyrica® drugs. Pursuant to the settlement, which was submitted to the Washington Superior Court for approval today, Vermont will receive over $611,000.

“This is yet another example of a drug manufacturer that makes unsubstantiated claims about drug benefits, despite the danger of such statements to the public. This office is committed to pursuing companies who violate our consumer protection laws and expose Vermonters to harm,” said Attorney General Sorrell.

Filed today, the complaint against Pfizer Inc alleges, among other things, that Pfizer Inc engaged in unfair and deceptive practices in its promotion of Zyvox when it made misleading and unsubstantiated claims that Zyvox was superior to its competitor, Vancomycin. Zyvox is a drug approved for treatment of certain types of infections, including nosocomial pneumonia caused by methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus (known as “MRSA”), and complicated skin and skin structure infections due to MRSA. The complaint also alleges that Pfizer Inc engaged in unfair and deceptive practices when it promoted Lyrica for off-label uses.

As part of the $42.9 million consent judgment with Vermont and 32 other states, Pfizer Inc agreed to reform how it markets and promotes Zyvox and Lyrica. Under the settlement, Pfizer Inc agreed not to make any false, misleading, or deceptive claims when comparing the efficacy or safety of Zyvox to Vancomycin or to promote any Pfizer product for off-label uses. The settlement agreement also requires Pfizer to design financial incentives that ensure that its marketing personnel are not motivated to engage in the improper marketing of Zyvox or Lyrica, and to notify its sales force promptly of any warning letter received from the FDA that affects sales representatives in the promotion of Pfizer products.

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