Class Action Filed Against Pfizer Over Marketing of Lipitor
A nationwide class action lawsuit was filed on September 28 against Pfizer Inc., alleging the world’s largest drug company devised a promotional scheme to boost sales of its anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor by misleading women and seniors about the link between the drug and heart disease.
The lawsuit, filed in the U.S. District Court in Boston, alleges that Pfizer engaged in a massive campaign to convince both doctors and patients that Lipitor is a beneficial treatment for nearly everyone with elevated cholesterol, even though no studies have shown it to be effective for women and those over 65 years of age who do not already have heart disease or diabetes.
"We intend to prove that Pfizer pocketed billions in sales to those who do not benefit from Lipitor," Steve Berman, the lead attorney for the proposed class, said.
Lipitor, part of the class of drugs called statins, is the best-selling drug in the world, with sales in 2004 of more than $10 billion.
According to the complaint, women without heart disease taking Lipitor actually developed 10 percent more heart attacks than women treated with a placebo.
The proposed class action seeks to represent women who have taken Lipitor and who have no history of heart disease or diabetes; people aged 65 and over who have taken Lipitor and who have no history of heart disease or diabetes; and third-party payers such as insurance companies, union health and welfare funds, self-insured employers and others, who paid for Lipitor for patients in either of these two groups.
The lawsuit alleges that Pfizer violated state consumer protection laws against deceptive advertising and seeks reimbursement for women and seniors and third-party payers who bought Lipitor unnecessarily as a result of Pfizer's deceptive marketing and promotional campaign.
"We intend to prove in this case that Pfizer's false advertising created an enormous artificial demand for Lipitor, much of which would not exist if Pfizer had fully and fairly disclosed the truth about the drug," Berman said.
PR Newswire, Sep 28, 2005 11:47 ET