Pfizer Loses Appeal of Neurontin


On Monday the U.S. Supreme Court rejected Pfizer’s appeal of a $142 million award to the Kaiser Foundation for illegal marketing of Neurontin.  The ruling allows cases involving millions of off-label prescriptions to move forward.  According to plaintiffs, internal Pfizer documents and emails show the company knew the drug was not effective for the marketed purposes, and referred to it as “the ‘snake oil’ of the twentieth century.”  According to Pfizer the decision, which did not require proof that the company’s marketing affected prescriptions by individual doctors, could lead to “an unlimited escalation in RICO and related cases against pharmaceutical companies for off-label promotion using the shortcut of aggregate proof.”

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Of further interest:
UPDATE 2-US high court leaves intact $142 mln verdict against Pfizer (Reuters)
Pfizer loses its Supreme Court bid to squash $142M Neurontin verdict (FiercePharma)

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Kermit Cole
Kermit Cole, MFT, founding editor of Mad in America, works in Santa Fe, New Mexico as a couples and family therapist. Inspired by Open Dialogue, he works as part of a team and consults with couples and families that have members identified as patients. His work in residential treatment — largely with severely traumatized and/or "psychotic" clients — led to an appreciation of the power and beauty of systemic philosophy and practice, as the alternative to the prevailing focus on individual pathology. A former film-maker, he has undergraduate and master's degrees in psychology from Harvard University, as well as an MFT degree from the Council for Relationships in Philadelphia. He is a doctoral candidate with the Taos Institute and the Free University of Brussels. You can reach him at [email protected].


  1. The seizure drug Neurontin (gabapentin) has not been Pharma’s finest hour. A division of Pfizer Inc., pleaded guilty in 2008 to illegally promoting it for bipolar disorder, pain, migraine headaches, and drug and alcohol withdrawal when it was only approved for postherpetic neuralgia, pain after shingles and epilepsy, paying $430 million. Oops. Pfizer actually promoted the illegal uses while under probation for illegal activities related to Lipitor and later promoted illegal uses for a similar drug, Lyrica, while under the Neurontin agreement! See: incorrigible.

    To sell Neurontin, Pfizer’s Parke-Davis launched an elaborate “publication plan” to get marketing papers disguised as science in medical journals. In just three years, Parke-Davis planted 13 ghostwritten articles in medical journals promoting off-label uses for Neurontin including a supplement to the prestigious Cleveland Clinic Journal of Medicine that Parke-Davis made into 43,000 reprints for its reps to disseminate. See Doc, it says right here….

    And there was more duplicity. In 2011, three years after its $430 million settlement, Pfizer’s STEPS trial (“Study of Neurontin: Titrate to Effect, Profile of Safety”) was reported to also be a con and not a scientific study; it was a sales tool created to inspire the 772 investigators participating in the trail to personally prescribe Neurontin. Recently, the new uses of Neurontin for chronic cough, menopause and insomnia are appearing in scientific literature. Why does no one seem to believe them?

    Source of this

    The original source is really cool cause there a links behind the words in the text to the sources.

    I was given this useless drug off label as well.

    It’s sickening when I think I actually trusted the medical community at one time only to have it almost kill me with its greedy fraud.

    Snake oil sales is right.

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  2. I wonder if any of the other people I used to wait with at that doctors office survived his psychiatry.

    This “doctor” had a whole cabinet full of pills dropped of by those dirty drug reps that he would hand out.

    I remember before I knew anything about how pharma and psychiatry worked that all those drugs were benevolent and helpful things used in a scientific ways like insulin and penicillin.

    I had no idea that those “medications” were the tools of profit used to make billions by the most dishonest greedy disgusting people to ever infect this planet.

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    • Then you have NAMI to add insult to injury.

      It takes a lot of nerve to call your organization a patients’ advocacy group when half to two-thirds of your funding comes from companies that are constantly facing class action lawsuits, federal lawsuits or both for not disclosing adverse findings in clinical trials, lying about known health risks, directly causing death and chemical injury and illegally marketing their most powerful and unpredictable drugs off label. NAMI could hardly be more blatant in aligning their methods with the commercial interests of these companies.

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