Law & Order

Big Pharma Settlement Breaks Record

The Obama administration is cracking down on health-care fraud, and federal prosecutors already have their first mounted head: Pfizer, which agreed to a record $2.3 billion settlement this week. The Washington Post reports that Pfizer’s Pharmacia & Upjohn subsidiary pleaded guilty to a felony charge for marketing anti-inflammatory drug Bextra for uses the FDA has not approved. Prosecutors also say the company gave doctor lavish trips, falsified records, and improperly financed articles promoting their pills. Pharmacia & Upjohn will pay $1.3 billion in fines and forfeits, the biggest criminal penalty in U.S. history, and Pfizer will pay an extra $1 billion to resolve civil cases connected to Bextra and three other medications. Explaining Pfizer’s steep penalty, one U.S. attorney called the company a “recidivist” lawbreaker.