From Hell To Veins

July 9, 2012

Big Pharma, Big Government, Big Curruption, BUSINESS AS USUAL.

Editor’s Note:

If you want to still insist on defending these crooks do it in silence.  Those of us exposing this on going corruption have repeatedly been right all along while, our detractors, stand there with egg on their collective faces once again.  Big Pharma, Big Government and of course their partner in crime Big Media (by trying to NOT report these types of revelations) keep going above and beyond the call of duty proving those of us screaming FRAUD, BRIBERY,FALSIFYING RESEARCH DOCUMENTS (STUDIES), RACKETEERING, AND OF COURSE ‘CONSPIRACY‘ have been right all along.  Of course, as usual, no one PERSON gets in any trouble.

Below is yet ANOTHER living testament to the VERY REASON why those of us who are still sane, choose ANOTHER PATH that is outside this CRIMINALLY INSANE path known as mainstream medicine.  Although Obama Banker bailout healthcare may put an end to ‘REAL’ health choices in America.

If you want to know why America is ranked 50th in health and longevity (the new ‘normal’) here’s a clue… IT AIN’T BY ACCIDENT.

Oh, by the way.  For those of you who use Dr. Wakefiled as your favorite punching bag, read the article below and learn how BOTH big pharma and big government treat AND threaten insider whistle-blowers.  Yeah, Dr. Wakefiled wasn’t the first NOR, will he be the last person whose gone through hell until, the house of fraudulent cards comes crashing down on the entire system.

Also, it should be noted that corporate whores such as Dr. Oz, Dr. Offit and Dr. Drew can push dangerous drugs and vaccines without worry of being thrown in Jail for conflict of interest that endangers the lives of the people they REFUSE to tell that they are ALL being paid by the very companies to push their dope onto the unsuspected.

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Big Pharma criminality no longer a conspiracy theory: Bribery, fraud, price fixing now a matter of public record
http://www.naturalnews.com/036417_Glaxo_Merck_fraud.html#ixzz20BZ66zFW

(NaturalNews) Those of us who have long been describing the pharmaceutical industry as a “criminal racket” over the last few years have been wholly vindicated by recent news. Drug and vaccine manufacturer Merck was caught red-handed by two of its own scientists faking vaccine efficacy data by spiking blood samples with animal antibodies. GlaxoSmithKline has just been fined a whopping $3 billion for bribing doctors, lying to the FDA, hiding clinical trial data and fraudulent marketing. Pfizer, meanwhile has been sued by the nation’s pharmacy retailers for what is alleged as an “overarching anticompetitive scheme” to keep generic cholesterol drugs off the market and thereby boost its own profits.

The picture that’s emerging is one of a criminal drug industry that has turned to mafia tactics in the absence of any real science that would prove their products to be safe or effective. The emergence of this extraordinary evidence of bribery, scientific fraud, lying to regulators and monopolistic practices that harm consumers is also making all those doctors and “skeptics” who defended Big Pharma and vaccines eat their words.

To defend Big Pharma today is to defend a cabal of criminal corporations that have proven they will do anything — absolutely anything — to keep their profits rolling in. It makes no difference who they have to bribe, what studies they have to falsify, or who has to be threatened into silence. They will stop at nothing to expand their profit base, even if it means harming (or killing) countless innocents.

Let’s take a look at recent revelations:

GlaxoSmithKline pleads guilty to bribery, fraud and other crimes

It what is now the largest criminal fraud settlement ever to come out of the pharmaceutical industry, GlaxoSmithKline has pleaded guilty and agreed to pay $1 billion in criminal fines and $2 billion in civil fines following a nine-year federal investigation into its activities.

According to U.S. federal investigators, GlaxoSmithKline (http://www.naturalnews.com/036416_GlaxoSmithKline_fraud_criminal_char…):

• Routinely bribed doctors with luxury vacations and paid speaking gigs
• Fabricated drug safety data and lied to the FDA
• Defrauded Medicare and Medicaid out of billions
• Deceived regulators about the effectiveness of its drugs
• Relied on its deceptive practices to earn billions of dollars selling potentially dangerous drugs to unsuspecting consumers and medical patients

And this is just the part they got caught doing. GSK doesn’t even deny any of this. The company simply paid the $3 billion fine, apologized to its customers, and continued conducting business as usual.

By the way, in addition to bribing physicians, GSK has plenty of money to spread around bribing celebrities and others who pimps its products. The company reportedly paid $275,000 to the celebrity doctor known as “Dr. Drew,” who promoted Glaxo’s mind-altering antidepressant drug Wellbutrin (http://naturalsociety.com/top-radio-doctor-paid-by-glaxosmithkline-to…).

As the Wall Street Journal reports:

In June 1999, popular radio personality Dr. Drew Pinsky used the airwaves to extol the virtues of GlaxoSmithKline PLC’s antidepressant Wellbutrin, telling listeners he prescribes it and other medications to depressed patients because it “may enhance or at least not suppress sexual arousal” as much as other antidepressants do. But one thing listeners didn’t know was that, two months before the program aired, Dr. Pinsky — who gained fame as “Dr. Drew” during years co-hosting a popular radio sex-advice show “Loveline” — received the second of two payments from Glaxo totaling $275,000 for “services for Wellbutrin.”
(http://online.wsj.com/article/SB1000142405270230393340457750503200685…)

Merck falsified vaccine data, spiked blood samples and more, say former employees

According to former Merck virologists Stephen Krahling and Joan Wlochowski, the company: (http://www.naturalnews.com/036328_Merck_mumps_vaccine_False_Claims_Ac…)

• “Falsified test data to fabricate a vaccine efficacy rate of 95 percent or higher.”

• Spiked the blood test with animal antibodies in order to artificially inflate the appearance of immune system antibodies.

• Pressured the two virologists to “participate in the fraud and subsequent cover-up.”

• Used the falsified trial results to swindle the U.S. government out of “hundreds of millions of dollars for a vaccine that does not provide adequate immunization.”

• Intimidated the scientists, threatening them with going to jail unless they stayed silent.

This is all documented in a 2010 False Claims Act which NaturalNews has acquired and posted here:
http://www.naturalnews.com/gallery/documents/Merck-False-Claims-Act.p…

Millions of children put at risk by Merck

In that document the two virologists say they, “witnessed firsthand the improper testing and data falsification in which Merck engaged to artificially inflate the vaccine’s efficacy findings.”

They also claim that because of the faked vaccine results, “the United States has over the last decade paid Merck hundreds of millions of dollars for a vaccine that does not provide adequate immunization… The United States is by far the largest financial victim of Merck’s fraud.”

They go on to point out that children are the real victims, however:

“But the ultimate victims here are the millions of children who every year are being injected with a mumps vaccine that is not providing them with an adequate level of protection. …The failure in Merck’s vaccine has allowed this disease to linger with significant outbreaks continuing to occur.”

Merck’s mumps viral strain is 45 years old!

According to the complaint, Merck has been using the same mumps strain — weakened from generations of being “passaged” — for the last 45 years! The complaint reads:

“For more than thirty years, Merck has had an exclusive license from the FDA to manufacture and sell a mumps vaccine in the U.S. The FDA first approved the vaccine in 1967. It was developed by Dr. Maurice Hilleman, at Merck’s West Point research facility, from the mumps virus that infected his five year-old daughter Jeryl Lynn. Merck continues to use this ‘Jeryl Lynn’ strain of the virus for its vaccine today.”

A complete medical farce

This information appears to show Merck’s mumps vaccine to be a complete medical farce. Those who blindly backed Merck’s vaccines — the science bloggers, “skeptics,” doctors, CDC and even the FDA — have been shown to be utter fools who have now destroyed their reputations by siding with an industry now known to be dominated by scientific fraud and unbounded criminality.

That’s the really hilarious part in all this: After decades of doctors, scientists and government authorities blindly and brainlessly repeating the mantra of “95% effectiveness,” it all turns out to be total quackery hogwash. Utterly fabricated. Quackety-quack quack. And all those hundreds of millions of Americans who lined up to be injected with MMR vaccines were all repeatedly and utterly conned into potentially harming themselves while receiving no medical benefit.

Intelligent, informed NaturalNews readers, home school parents, and “awakened” people who said “No!” to vaccines are now emerging as the victors in all this. By refusing to be injected with Merck’s vaccines, they avoided being assaulted with a fraudulent cocktail of adjuvant chemicals and all-but-useless mumps strains over four decades old. They protected their time, money and health. Those who refuse to be physically violated by vaccines are, once again, turning out to be the smartest people in society. No wonder they also tend to be healthier than the clueless fools who line up to get vaccinated every year.

Merck fraudulently misrepresented the efficacy of its vaccine and contributed to the spread of infectious disease, says lawsuit

The faked vaccine efficacy numbers aren’t the only troubles Merck is now facing. Shortly after the above False Claims Act was made public, Chatom Primary Care filed suit against Merck. That document is available from NaturalNews at:
http://www.naturalnews.com/gallery/documents/Chatom-Lawsuit-Merck-Mum…

It alleges that:

• [Merck engaged in] …a decade-long scheme to falsify and misrepresent the true efficacy of its vaccine.

• Merck fraudulently represented and continues to falsely represent in its labeling and elsewhere that its Mumps Vaccine has an efficacy rate of 95 percent of higher.

• Merck knows and has taken affirmative steps to conceal — by using improper testing techniques and falsifying test data — that its Mumps Vaccine is, and has been since at least 1999, far less than 95 percent effective.

• Merck designed a testing methodology that evaluated its vaccine against a less virulent strain of the mumps virus. After the results failed to yield Merck’s desired efficacy, Merck abandoned the methodology and concealed the study’s findings.

• Merck also engaged in “incorporating the use of animal antibodies to artificially inflate the results… destroying evidence of the falsified data and then lying to an FDA investigator… threatened a virologist in Merck’s vaccine division with jail if he reported the fraud to the FDA.”

• “Merck designed a testing methodology that evaluated its vaccine against a less virulent strain of the mumps virus. After the results failed to yield Merck’s desired efficacy, Merck abandoned the methodology and concealed the study’s findings. [Then] Merck designed even more scientifically flawed methodology, this time incorporating the use of animal antibodies to artificially inflate the results, but it too failed to achieve Merck’s fabricated efficacy rate. Confronted with two failed methodologies, Merck then falsified the test data to guarantee the results it desired. Having achieved the desired, albeit falsified, efficacy threshold, Merck submitted these fraudulent results to the FDA and European Medicines Agency.”

• “Merck took steps to cover up the tracks of its fraudulent testing by destroying evidence of the falsified data and then lying to an FDA investigator… Merck also attempted to buy the silence and cooperation of its staff by offering them financial incentives to follow the direction of Merck personnel overseeing the fraudulent testing process. Merck also threatened… Stephen Krahling, a virologist in Merck’s vaccine division from 1999 to 2001, with jail if he reported fraud to the FDA.”

• “Merck continued to conceal what it knew about the diminished efficacy of its Mumps Vaccine even after significant mumps outbreaks in 2006 and 2009.”

Obama administration has zero interest in actual justice

Another interesting note in all this is that under President Obama, the U.S. Dept. of Justice showed no interest whatsoever in investigating Merck over the False Claims Act filed by two of its former virologists. Despite the convincing evidence of fraud described in detail by insider whistleblowers, the Obama Department of Justice, led by gun-running Attorney General Eric Holder who is already facing serious questions over Operation Fast and Furious, simply chose to ignore the False Claims Act complaint.

When evidence of criminal fraud was brought before the U.S. Department of Justice, in other words, the DoJ looked the other way with a wink and a nod to the medical crimes taking place right under their noses. Who cares if tens of millions of children are being injected year after year with a fraudulent mumps vaccine? There’s money to be made, after all, and exploiting the bodies of little children for profit is just business as usual in a fascist nation dominated by corporate interests.

Pfizer sued by retailers over anticompetitive scheme

Adding to all this, Pfizer has now been sued by five U.S. retailers (pharmacies) who accuse the company of monopolistic market practices. According to the lawsuit, Pfizer conspired to prevent generic versions of its blockbuster cholesterol drug Lipitor from entering the market. This was done to protect billions in profits while making sure patients did not have access to more affordable cholesterol drugs. Pfizer sells nearly $10 billion worth of Lipitor each year.

According to the Reuters report on this lawsuit, Pfizer is being accused of (http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/05/us-pfizer-walgreen-lipitor-…):

• Obtaining a fraudulent patent
• Engaging in sham litigation
• Entering a price-fixing agreement to delay cheaper generics
• Entering arrangements with pharmacy benefit managers to force retailers to buy more Lipitor (chemical name is atorvastatin calcium)

No arrests or prosecution of Big Pharma executives

One of the most astonishing realizations in all this is that given all the criminal fraud, bribery, misrepresentation, lying to the FDA, price fixing and other crimes that are going on in the pharmaceutical industry, you’d think somebody somewhere might be arrested and charged with a crime, right?

Nope.

To date, not a single pharmaceutical CEO, marketing employee or drug rep has been charged with anything related to all this fraud. In America, drug company employees are “above the law” just like top mafia bosses of a bygone era.

How insane is this, exactly? Consider this:

Imagine if YOU, an individual, went around town bribing doctors, falsifying data, selling a fraudulent product to the government, lying to regulators, engaging in anti-trade price-fixing and threatening your employees into silence. What would happen to you?

You’d probably wind up rotting in prison, the subject of an FBI investigation and a DoJ prosecution.

So why is it okay for a multi-billion-dollar corporation to carry out these same crimes and get away with it? Why are the CEOs of top drug companies given a free pass to commit felony crimes and endless fraud?

I’ll tell you why, and you’re not gonna like the answer: Because America has become a nation run by crooks for the benefit of crooks. It’s one big country club, and as comedian George Carlin used to say, “YOU ain’t in it!”

If Big Pharma would falsify data on vaccines, what else would the industry do?

I hope you’re getting the bigger picture in all this, friends. If these drug companies routinely bribe doctors, falsify data, defraud the government and commit felony crimes without remorse, what else would they be willing to do for profit?

Would they:

• Falsify efficacy data on other prescription drugs?
• Exploit children for deadly vaccine trials?
• Invent fictitious diseases to sell more drugs?
• Unleash bioweapons to cause a profitable pandemic?
• Conspire with the CDC to spread fear to promote vaccinations?
• Silence whistleblowers who try to go public with the truth?
• Give people cancer via stealth viruses in vaccines?
• Destroy the careers of medical scientists who question Big Pharma?
• Force a medical monopoly on the entire U.S. population via socialist health care legislation?

But of course they would. In fact, the industry is doing all those things right now. And if you don’t believe me, just remember that five years ago, no one believed me when I said drug companies were engaged in criminal conspiracies to defraud the nation — something that has now been proven over a nine-year investigation.

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April 29, 2010

Vaccines, Population Control, JP Morgan Chase / Goldman Sachs And Big Pharma Corruption.

My Commentary:
Here at Hell To Veins I have been covering these same allegations and have provided the links. Here is yet more info with links.

Via E-mail Newsletter From: Tetrahedron, LLC
Health Science Communication for People Around the World
http://www.drlenhorowitz.com/

NEWS RELEASE

Release: No. 6-CHASE-39
Date Mailed: April 29, 2010
For Immediate Release
Contact: Art Thompson–949-715-2217; Info@healthyworldaffiliates.com

Profitable Depopulation Plot Links JP Morgan-Chase and Goldman Sachs to Vaccination Contaminations and BigPharma Corruption

A medical investigation into suspicious outbreaks and propaganda used to sell drugs and vaccines has exposed investment bankers at JP Morgan-Chase (JPMC) and Goldman Sachs (GS) for plotting to shock/stress, frighten, poison, and kill billions of people most profitably–pharmaceutically–according to the Editor-in-Chief of Medical Veritas journal. (Refer: http://www.medicalveritas.org/ )

While researching a powerful Partnership for New York City (PFNYC), (Refer: http://www.pfnyc.org/uniting), Wall Street’s wealthiest industrialists, Harvard-trained public health expert, Dr. Leonard Horowitz, and investigative journalist, Sherri Kane, discovered shocking evidence of a conspiracy to commit global genocide by generating diseases and death to advance profitable pharmaceutical depopulation.

medical journal
Population planners at the highest levels of government and industry conspired to spread diseases, vaccines, drugs, and death most profitably, according to research published in the latest issue of Medical Veritas.

In a related Special Report posted on YouTube, Dr. Horowitz urged humanitarian organizations and activist groups worldwide to issue investigations, alerts, civil complaints, and criminal charges to stop the pharmaceutical depopulation plot because it risks genetic inheritance, new pandemics, and the possible extinction of the human race.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QLKsYsVDBQ8

“Corruption in the drug industry is rampant and transparent,” Dr. Horowitz explains, “Investment bankers at JPMC and GS, who acquired controlling interests in the largest drug firms during mergers and acquisitions, have placed ‘depopulation’ near the top of their list of geopolitical priorites. Their depopulation agents are now in top positions of government, finance, and industry.

The depopulation plan is supported by the world’s wealthiest people, including Bill Gates, who admittedly funds vaccinations to reduce global populations by 10-15%. Leading population planners and economic developers advance identical plans to cull the world’s population to 1 billion.
(Refer: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6WQtRI7A064&feature=related )

“Killing 6-out-of-7 people globally, most profitably, requires planning and an unprecedented conspiracy to commit genocide by applying advances in genetic biotechnologies exclusively available and affordable to drug companies controlled by the investment bankers,” Dr. Horowitz adds.
web page

The doctor points to the fact that US Treasury Department officials previously operated JPMC and GS on behalf of majority stock holders and their partners in pharmaceutical companies heavily represented in the PFNYC and the trade organizations that negotiate multi-billion dollar government purchases of drugs and vaccines.

Researchers, including vaccination contamination expert Dr. Viera Scheibner, reports in the current issue of Medical Veritas that polio virus vaccines are produced in African green monkey kidney cell cultures routinely contaminated with transmissible cancer viruses.

By reviewing drug company patents, Dr. Horowitz learned that the makers of H1N1 swine flu and rotavirus vaccines use the same cultures risking recombinations, genetic mutations, and unstoppable transmissions of deadly agents threatening new pandemics.

“This best explains why public health officials are preparing for vaccine-transmitted H1N1s cloned in monkey cells to recombine with bird H5N1s currently circulating. This threatening and most deadly recombination of flu viruses, officials herald may happen in the Fall,” Dr. Horowitz warned.

Besides the inadequacies of safety testing new vaccines without using placebo controls, it is this issue of reliability of information that concerns more than half of the medical physicians polled since they became aware that the entire medical industry has been hijacked by Wall Street’s pharmaceutical profiteers. Now they are learning from famous people, like Gates, that the world’s wealthiest people are administering vaccinations for depopulation.

“I love vaccines,” Gates stated at a TED conference in February, 2010, while lecturing on ways to reduce global populations to stem environmental pollution.
Bill's Mug
The links between the directors of major drug companies, mainstream media moguls, and investment bankers at JPMC and GS are so obvious and incriminating, and the dispersion of unsafe vaccines so common and disturbing, only profitable depopulation as a planned outcome of pharmaceutical investments can explain the current situation.

“Complete censorship was the only option officials have had to prevent a meltdown in public opinion about medicine and the pharmaceutical industry,” said Ingri Cassel, a leading vaccine risk awareness activist. “This explains why news of this vaccination depopulation plan has been neglected by the special-interest-influenced media.”

Investigating conflicting pharmaceutical interests influencing news coverage, Sherri Kane, previously a writer for FOX News in Los Angeles, learned that the majority shareholders in FOX, TimeWarner, News Corp., and the Wall Street Journal, are heavily invested in GlaxoSmithKlein and Merck’s CSL Laboratories, both makers of risky drugs and vaccines.

Lloyd Blankfein, the CEO of Goldman Sachs, became a major shareholder in AstraZeneca following his direction of the company’s acquisition of the H1N1 FluMist maker, MedImmune. Blankfein has also leveraged ABC-Disney following their merger with money he raised through GS investors. This resulted in Dr. Oz’s heavy promotion of H1N1 vaccines on ABC last year, when officials learned that the vast majority of Americans were unwilling to risk the exposure.

Rupert Murdoch and Lloyd Blankfein co-chair the PFNYC, founded by CHASE principal, World Bank ambassador, and America’s leading energy industrialist and medical monopolist, David Rockefeller. The PFNYC was chartered by the Royal Family of England–a majority share holder in General Electric–the world’s largest company–that controls NBC/Universal/Comcast, and MSNBC with Bill Gates.
web page

The PFNYC was pledged to play a central role in reconstructing Ground Zero following the 9/11 attacks, according to Kathryn Wylde, President & CEO of the Partnership and current Director of The Federal Reserve Bank of New York. The organization compiled the economic report on the damage done, advanced financial plans for reconstructing the World Trade Center, and advised leading financiers regarding reconstruction investments.

According to 911-Truth movement directors, Wylde and other members of the PFNYC are implicated in the treasonous attacks that scientific evidence says involved thermitic explosives used in controlled demolitions.

These allegations and PFNYC connections to 9/11 events implicating investment bankers at Goldman Sachs are additionally scrutinized in a new feature-length film produced by Dr. Horowitz. PHARMAWHORES: The SHOWTIME Sting of Penn & Teller premieres in theaters across North America this summer. (Quicktime and MP-4 downloadable versions are available through PharmaWhores.com.)

The PFNYC is co-directed by Jeffrey B. Kindler, the Chairman and CEO of Pfizer–the world’s largest drug company. Kindler stewards Pfizer through multi-billion dollar acquisitions also involving JPMC and GS financing.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America (PhRMA), the drug industry’s main trade organization, is also directed by Kindler. PhRMA officials engage White House and Pentagon officials in private negotiations determining pricing for stockpiles of drugs and vaccines.

Dr. Horowitz views this covert administration of multi-billion dollar pharmaceutical contracts as symptomatic of the industry’s corruption. The “corporate shell game” is played using mergers and acquisitions directed by the same people. Their creation of the PhRMA trade organization provides the illusion of their legitimacy and fair competition. Price fixing occurs behind closed doors, explaining why prices vary so widely internationally.

Another gross example of corrupt government pharmawhores sucking Wall Street’s slime, is Congressman Henry Waxman’s (D-CA) treason against the American people for sneaking dietary supplement regulation language into ‘The Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2009,’ (H.R. 4173).

For years, Waxman has attempted to pass legislation restricting consumer access to nutritional supplements on behalf of BigPharma. The FDA, largely controlled by BigPharma, contends regulating vitamins, minerals, herbs, homeopathics, oils, colloidal silvers, and more natural products protects consumers.

During health care reform negotiations with PhRMA, Waxman feigned concern that drug companies were driving too hard a “bargain” on pharmaceutical prices, but still voted in favor of the cartel’s freedom to set their own limits.

Most telling and ironic, PhRMA’s official negotiator to whom Waxman complained, “PhRMA should contribute more than PhRMA wants to contribute,” was Billy Tauzin, the former congressman who held Waxman’s job as chair of the Energy and Commerce committee.

RELATED:

Academic Research On Population Reduction Global Policies

April 12, 2010

Pfizer: “Too Big To Nail”

Filed under: HOME — nwqfk @ 3:15 p04
Tags: , , ,

My Commentary:
If this story, CNN revels in, doesn’t scream corruption from the rooftops I don’t know what else does? The FEDS solution to this corruption is to have Pfizer ‘Police’ itself! Yeah, that’s rich, and why do we even have an FDA? So, my question to the vaccine cult is as follows… “So, when the largest vaccine manufacture says it’s vaccine are ‘SAFE AND EFFECTIVE’, you’re ACTUALLY GOING TO STILL BELIEVE THEM? For those who actually believe this allowed corruption is perfectly acceptable you and Pfizer need to live on your own island and leave the rest of us alone!

Feds found Pfizer too big to nail
By Drew Griffin and Andy Segal, CNN Special Investigations Unit
April 2, 2010 4:44 p.m. EDT
CNN
CNN’s Special Investigations Unit reveals internal company documents on Bextra and Pfizer’s health care fraud. Watch at 3 p.m. ET Saturday on CNN.

(CNN) — Imagine being charged with a crime, but an imaginary friend takes the rap for you.

That is essentially what happened when Pfizer, the world’s largest pharmaceutical company, was caught illegally marketing Bextra, a painkiller that was taken off the market in 2005 because of safety concerns.

When the criminal case was announced last fall, federal officials touted their prosecution as a model for tough, effective enforcement. “It sends a clear message” to the pharmaceutical industry, said Kevin Perkins, assistant director of the FBI’s Criminal Investigative Division.

But beyond the fanfare, a CNN Special Investigation found another story, one that officials downplayed when they declared victory. It’s a story about the power major pharmaceutical companies have even when they break the laws intended to protect patients.

Big plans for Bextra

The story begins in 2001, when Bextra was about to hit the market. The drug was part of a revolutionary class of painkillers known as Cox-2 inhibitors that were supposed to be safer than generic drugs, but at 20 times the price of ibuprofen.

Pfizer and its marketing partner, Pharmacia, planned to sell Bextra as a treatment for acute pain, the kind you have after surgery.

But in November 2001, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration said Bextra was not safe for patients at high risk of heart attacks and strokes.

The FDA approved Bextra only for arthritis and menstrual cramps. It rejected the drug in higher doses for acute, surgical pain.

Promoting drugs for unapproved uses can put patients at risk by circumventing the FDA’s judgment over which products are safe and effective. For that reason, “off-label” promotion is against the law.

But with billions of dollars of profits at stake, marketing and sales managers across the country nonetheless targeted anesthesiologists, foot surgeons, orthopedic surgeons and oral surgeons. “Anyone that use[d] a scalpel for a living,” one district manager advised in a document prosecutors would later cite.

A manager in Florida e-mailed his sales reps a scripted sales pitch that claimed — falsely — that the FDA had given Bextra “a clean bill of health” all the way up to a 40 mg dose, which is twice what the FDA actually said was safe.

Doctors as pitchmen

Internal company documents show that Pfizer and Pharmacia (which Pfizer later bought) used a multimillion-dollar medical education budget to pay hundreds of doctors as speakers and consultants to tout Bextra.

Pfizer said in court that “the company’s intent was pure”: to foster a legal exchange of scientific information among doctors.

But an internal marketing plan called for training physicians “to serve as public relations spokespeople.”

According to Lewis Morris, chief counsel to the inspector general at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, “They pushed the envelope so far past any reasonable interpretation of the law that it’s simply outrageous.”

Pfizer’s chief compliance officer, Doug Lanker, said that “in a large sales force, successful sales techniques spread quickly,” but that top Pfizer executives were not aware of the “significant mis-promotion issue with Bextra” until federal prosecutors began to show them the evidence.

By April 2005, when Bextra was taken off the market, more than half of its $1.7 billion in profits had come from prescriptions written for uses the FDA had rejected.

Too big to nail

But when it came to prosecuting Pfizer for its fraudulent marketing, the pharmaceutical giant had a trump card: Just as the giant banks on Wall Street were deemed too big to fail, Pfizer was considered too big to nail.

Why? Because any company convicted of a major health care fraud is automatically excluded from Medicare and Medicaid. Convicting Pfizer on Bextra would prevent the company from billing federal health programs for any of its products. It would be a corporate death sentence.

Prosecutors said that excluding Pfizer would most likely lead to Pfizer’s collapse, with collateral consequences: disrupting the flow of Pfizer products to Medicare and Medicaid recipients, causing the loss of jobs including those of Pfizer employees who were not involved in the fraud, and causing significant losses for Pfizer shareholders.

“We have to ask whether by excluding the company [from Medicare and Medicaid], are we harming our patients,” said Lewis Morris of the Department of Health and Human Services.

So Pfizer and the feds cut a deal. Instead of charging Pfizer with a crime, prosecutors would charge a Pfizer subsidiary, Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. Inc.

The CNN Special Investigation found that the subsidiary is nothing more than a shell company whose only function is to plead guilty.

According to court documents, Pfizer Inc. owns (a) Pharmacia Corp., which owns (b) Pharmacia & Upjohn LLC, which owns (c) Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. LLC, which in turn owns (d) Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. Inc. It is the great-great-grandson of the parent company.

Public records show that the subsidiary was incorporated in Delaware on March 27, 2007, the same day Pfizer lawyers and federal prosecutors agreed that the company would plead guilty in a kickback case against a company Pfizer had acquired a few years earlier.

As a result, Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. Inc., the subsidiary, was excluded from Medicare without ever having sold so much as a single pill. And Pfizer was free to sell its products to federally funded health programs.

An imaginary friend
Two years later, with Bextra, the shell company once again pleaded guilty. It was, in effect, Pfizer’s imaginary friend stepping up to take the rap.

“It is true that if a company is created to take a criminal plea, but it’s just a shell, the impact of an exclusion is minimal or nonexistent,” Morris said.

Prosecutors say there was no viable alternative.

“If we prosecute Pfizer, they get excluded,” said Mike Loucks, the federal prosecutor who oversaw the investigation. “A lot of the people who work for the company who haven’t engaged in criminal activity would get hurt.”

Did the punishment fit the crime? Pfizer says yes.

It paid nearly $1.2 billion in a criminal fine for Bextra, the largest fine the federal government has ever collected.

It paid a billion dollars more to settle a batch of civil suits — although it denied wrongdoing — on allegations that it illegally promoted 12 other drugs.

In all, Pfizer lost the equivalent of three months’ profit.

It maintained its ability to do business with the federal government.

Pfizer says it takes responsibility for the illegal promotion of Bextra. “I can tell you, unequivocally, that Pfizer perceived the Bextra matter as an incredibly serious one,” said Doug Lankler, Pfizer’s chief compliance officer.

To prevent it from happening again, Pfizer has set up what it calls “leading-edge” systems to spot signs of illegal promotion by closely monitoring sales reps and tracking prescription sales.

It’s not entirely voluntary. Pfizer had to sign a corporate integrity agreement with the Department of Health and Human Services. For the next five years, it requires Pfizer to disclose future payments to doctors and top executives to sign off personally that the company is obeying the law.

Pfizer says the company has learned its lesson.

But after years of overseeing similar cases against other major drug companies, even Loucks, isn’t sure $2 billion in penalties is a deterrent when the profits from illegal promotion can be so large.

“I worry that the money is so great,” he said, that dealing with the Department of Justice may be “just of a cost of doing business.”

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