A U.S. District Court in Boston tripled a $47 million jury verdict ordering drug maker Pfizer to pay $142 million in damages for violating federal racketeering laws in the marketing Neurontin, an epilepsy drug.
The suit stemmed from Kaiser officials claiming that they were intentionally misled by Pfizer representatives into believing that bipolar disorder and migraines could be treated effectively with Neurontin, according to the New York Times. It turns out Neurontin is not effective for either of those conditions.
Numerous medical studies reportedly found that Pfizer skewed 21 studies of Neurontin to try and prove its effectiveness for the prevention of migraines, bipolar disorder, and treatment of nerve pain and pain resulting from injury or illness. In the 12 studies reported, eight had their outcomes changed (i.e. altered) from the time the study was planned to when the study's findings appeared in print.
Pfizer currently faces over 300 suits accusing the company of illegally promoting Neurontin or hiding its side effects and serious health risks.
Pfizer plans to appeal the $142 million verdict. Let's hope it gets affirmed in a higher court. What Pfizer did appears to be highly unethical and downright unseemly. We must not forget that while Pfizer falsely promoted Neurontin to Kaiser, people's lives were being adversely affected. People who were struggling with migraines, bipolar disorder, and other conditions may have suffered serious side effects associated with Neurontin when they could have avoided it.