Pfizer pays $491 Million to settle whistleblower suit for illegal marketing of Rapamune drug

Pfizer Corporation has agreed to pay $491 million to resolve allegations stemming from a whistleblower suit which alleged that its subsidiary Wyeth illegally marketed the transplant drug Rapamune for uses not approved by the FDA including for patients getting liver, lung heart and other transplants–dangerous uses. Rapamune was approved in 1999 only for ise in kidney transplant patients. The company even gave its sales reps bonuses for pushing the drug for unapproved uses.

One whistleblower in the Rapamune case was Mark Campbell, a Wyeth sales rep for 20 years until he resigned in 2009. Whistleblowers are allowed up to 30% of the government’s recovery under The False Claims Act . Since resigning from Wyeth, Mr. Campbell, who has a Masters’ Degree in religious education has been serving as Executive Director of Ministries of Jesus, a nonprofit healthcare ministry in Oklahoma.

Off label marketing of drugs is not unique to Wyeth or Pfizer. The record settlement is $3 billion paid by the British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline PLC.