Processing Magazine

Lawsuit claims Pfizer suppressed Neurontin studies

October 8, 2008

Reuters has reported that documents submitted in a U.S. lawsuit against Pfizer Inc. claim the company tried to internally suppress medical studies that did not support the use of its epilepsy drug Neurontin. The documents suggest that Pfizer''s marketers influenced Neurontin''s scientific record to boost sales at least until 2003 by delaying the publication or altering the conclusions of studies that had found no evidence the drug worked for various conditions besides epilepsy. Pfizer has denied the charges. The case is the latest in a string of allegations against the pharmaceutical industry suggesting it has controlled the flow of clinical trial research to boost its marketing position. The documents, including reports by experts who reviewed thousands of company documents for plaintiffs, were submitted to the U.S. District Court in Boston and were made available on its Web site. Neurontin was a blockbuster product for Pfizer until 2004, when generic versions of the medicine hit the market. Sales totaled $2.7 billion in 2003. Pfizer agreed in 2004 to pay $430 million and plead guilty to criminal charges for illegally marketing Neurontin for unapproved uses such as migraines and pain.