King Pharma settles for $2.2M after violating pharma emissions standards

In 2008, Pfizer ($PFE) was the first to reach a settlement over alleged violations of the Clean Air Act's emissions standards for the pharmaceutical industry. Five years later, its subsidiary, King Pharmaceuticals, is the most recent to do so. After reaching an agreement with the state of Tennessee, King will pay $2.2 million and take measures to comply with regulations at its manufacturing facility in Bristol, TN.

According to a release from the Department of Justice, the alleged violations were found during a May 2006 inspection and follow-up investigation by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation (TDEC). King will now be required to bring the plant in line with PharmaACT standards, measures specific to the pharma industry that "must be implemented to control hazardous air pollutants in order to prevent harm to human health or the environment," the release says.

The DOJ is hoping the hefty penalty will reverberate throughout the industry, prompting other drug manufacturers to take heed. "This settlement will protect public health and the environment by requiring additional hazardous air pollution controls at the pharmaceutical facility in Bristol," said Robert G. Dreher, the acting assistant attorney general for the Justice Department's Environment and Natural Resources Division. "This significant civil penalty should send a strong signal to the pharmaceutical industry regarding our commitment to enforce PharmaACT."

Of the $2.2 million, half will go to the United States and half to the TDEC. A portion of TDEC's share will go to a state project it runs for homeowners, providing financial assistance for environmentally friendly upgrades.

In 2008, Pfizer, which acquired King in 2011, agreed to pay $975,000 to settle alleged violations of PharmaACT regulations, becoming the first company to reach a settlement of this kind in federal court. Those alleged violations occurred at a former manufacturing plant in Groton, CT, between 2002 and 2005.

- here's the DOJ's release