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World’s largest drug firm gets record fine for promotions

3 September 2009

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The world’s largest drug maker, Pfizer, has been fined a record £1.42bn in a civil and criminal penalty over unlawful prescription-drug promotions.

The US Justice Department said that it included the largest criminal fine in American history – around £735m.

Authorities described the firm, which manufacturers Viagra, as a repeat offender.

It is the fourth such settlement of US government charges in the last decade. As a result, the US government is set to monitor the firm’s conduct for the next five years.

In order to promote its drugs, Pfizer invited doctors to consultant meetings at resort locations, paying their expenses and providing perks.

Mike Loucks, the US attorney in Massachusetts, said: “They were entertained with golf, massages, and other activities.”

Mr Loucks said that at the same time as Pfizer was negotiating deals on past instances of misconduct, it was continuing to break the same laws with other drugs.

Copyright © Press Association 2009

US Department of Justice