Ex-exec: Off-label promo 'part of Pfizer culture'

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.

- read the BNet Pharma item
- check out the sentencing memo

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