British Medical Journal Recognizes Tom Greene as a “Pioneer of Transparency”

Greene LLP attorney Thomas M. Greene filed a False Claims Act case against pharmaceutical company Parke-Davis over improper marketing of the drug Neurontin, a first-of-its-kind case that established that when a pharmaceutical company markets a drug for off-label uses, it can be a False Claims Act violation when such marketing causes financial harm to Medicare and other government payors.

But Greene’s work did not end there. After Pfizer settled the Neurontin False Claims Act case in 2004 for $430 million in civil fines and criminal penalties, private health insurers stepped forward with lawsuits saying that they too had been financially harmed by marketing of Neurontin. And although the False Claims Act case had taken more than seven years of litigation to be resolved, Greene once again found himself with a daunting task.

Once a multi-district litigation for Neurontin claims was established and assigned to Chief Judge Patti Saris of the Federal District Court for the District of Massachusetts, Greene was appointed to the Plaintiffs Steering Committee and elected its chairman. Ten years of active litigation later, the firm announced a $325 million class action settlement on behalf of private health insurers with Pfizer, Inc.

At the root of the class settlement were fraud allegations, that Pfizer and its predecessors had marketed Neurontin for off-level uses despite evidence that it did not actually work for those indications. It was the investigative lawyering necessary to properly examine that evidence that made the difference, although a seminal appellate decision from the First Circuit was also exceedingly important.

On January 2, that investigative work was recognized in “The Pioneers of Transparency,” an article in the British Medical Journal. Tom Greene and professor Kay Dickersin were singled out for their work in revealing selective outcome reporting in the clinical trials for Neurontin that Pfizer and its predecessors used to pitch Neurontin for off-label uses with doctors around the country. Dickersin and Greene LLP attorneys delved into the actual clinical trial reports, zeroing in on discrepancies between the studies’ raw information and how it was later repurposed for Pfizer’s marketing messages.

In addition to fighting for transparency in the Neurontin case, Greene has also taken his message across the country in a number of speaking engagements. He also testified before the United States House of Representatives in 2013, speaking out on a better way of tracking clinical trials before their outcomes are reported, to cut down on selective outcome reporting.

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