3 Sep 2009

Record fine imposed on US drugmaker

7:27 am on 3 September 2009

Pfizer has agreed to pay a record $US2.3 billion to settle accusations it improperly marketed 13 medicines.

The fines were imposed on the American drugmaker after it was deemed a repeat offender.

It illegally promoted four drugs and submitted false claims to government healthcare programmes for uses that were not medically accepted.

The case was brought by the US Department of Justice.

Pfizer pleaded guilty in 2004 to an earlier criminal charge of improper sales tactics and its marketing practices have been under federal supervision since then.

Pfizer reported a 90% drop in profit to $268m in the fourth quarter of 2008, because of the $2.3 billion settlement.

The BBC says this indicates that the company was aware they would be paying this sum before the terms of the deal with the Department of Justice were announced.