Greene LLP Attorneys Celebrated by Public Justice Foundation for “Punishing Big Pharma’s Marketing Fraud”
The Public Justice Foundation recognized the work of Greene LLP attorneys Thomas M. Greene and Ilyas J. Rona in an awards gala in New York on July 12. Along with other trial teams singled out for advancing access to justice in the court system and promoting public safety, the Greene team’s work in holding Pfizer accountable for years of off-label marketing of Neurontin was detailed by Public Justice Foundation Executive Director Arthur H. Bryant.
Bryant chronicled the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan v. Pfizer litigation, a case which included a five week trial in federal court in Boston. Determining that there was no scientifically acceptable evidence that Neurontin is effective for treating bipolar disorder, migraines, or general neuropathic pain, or at dosages above that approved by the FDA, the jury rendered a RICO verdict of $47 million which was trebled under the statute to $142 million. The resolution of the case was a result of more than fifteen years of litigation involving Neurontin by Greene LLP attorneys, who also successfully resolved the first off-label promotion case under the False Claims Act when Pfizer settled for $430 million in civil penalties and criminal fines in 2004 over its marketing practices of the drug.
From the Public Justice Foundation’s program for the event:
Kaiser Foundation Health Plan v. Pfizer
Punishing Big Pharma’s Marketing Fraud
When Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, embarked upon a massive campaign to market a popular epilepsy drug for uses that had not been approved by the Food and Drug Administration, the Greene team filed suit on behalf of the Kaiser Foundation, which provides health care coverage for nearly 8.6 million families. To prove that Pfizer had defrauded the insurer into paying hundreds of millions for an inappropriately prescribed drug, the team sought to hold Pfizer accountable under the federal racketeering law known as “RICO.” No pharmaceutical company had ever been held liable under the notoriously difficult statute. To complicate things further, the attorneys had to pour over nearly three million pages of Pfizer documents; had to prove that the drug was ineffective for the various off-label uses Pfizer had touted; and had to walk the jury through the complex mechanics of a RICO enterprise. In March 2010, a federal jury in Boston hit Pfizer with a $47.3 million damages award, which was automatically tripled under RICO to a total of more than $142 million.