The ex-Pfizer sales manager sentenced for off-label promotion of the Bextra painkiller told Massachusetts officials that the company not only knew about her off-label activities, but encouraged them. According to a sentencing memo filed in federal district court (and obtained by BNet Pharma), off-label promotion of Bextra was "part of the Pfizer culture."
As you know, Pfizer agreed to pay $2.3 billion to settle off-label Bextra marketing claims. Mary Holloway's sentencing memo claims that she took the initiative to commission research on Bextra-type drugs for post-op pain relief, and Pfizer not only trumpeted the study results, but complimented her efforts to push Bextra for related off-label uses. The memo also details the company's alleged efforts to promote treatment protocols--which included off-label use of Bextra--to doctors. The protocol effort encompassed multiple Pfizer sales regions, the memo states.
Of course it's to Holloway's benefit to paint her own off-label marketing as just one part of an overall company effort. But Pfizer did settle with the feds for a whopping $2.3 billion--and this after the media went ga-ga over Eli Lilly's record-breaking $1.4 billion deal on off-label Zyprexa promotions.