Pfizer's $2.3B Fine Was a Huge Pay Day For Whistleblowers


As if the size of Pfizer’s (PFE) recent $2.3 billion false advertising fine (related to the drug Bextra) wasn’t shocking enough, further details emerging from the settlement make this truly an exceptional case.

Here are some highlights from BNET Pharma’s top 10 list:

  • One of the key executives punished referred to his team as The Highlanders, as in the classic 1980’s movie where immortals must kill or be killed, ending emails with “There can only be one”.
  • Despite his immortality, in the end he was sentenced to six months home confinement and required to wear a digital ankle bracelet. To prevent further Bextra pushing?
  • Somehow the U.S. Postal Service angled in on the deal. “Health care fraud has a significant financial impact on the Postal Service. This case alone impacted more than 10,000 postal employees on workers’ compensation who were treated with these drugs,” said Joseph Finn, Special Agent in Charge for the Postal Service’s Office of Inspector General.”
  • Finally and perhaps most shockingly, Six whistleblowers did extraordinarily well, set to receive $102 million from the overall settlement. A trip to the Department of Justice announcement reveals little as to who these whistleblowers were.

It appears Pfizer was guilty here, we don’t argue that. Yet it seems that the size of the claims at stake may have instigated a whole host of theatrics, from many sides.

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