Pfizer’s Long History Of Criminal Behavior
In 1992, Pfizer agreed to pay between $165 million and $215 million to settle lawsuits arising from the fracturing of its Bjork-Shiley Convexo-Concave heart valve, which at the time had resulted in nearly 300 deaths, and by 2012 had resulted in 663 deaths.
In 1994, Pfizer agreed to pay $10.75 million to settle Justice Department claims that the company lied to get federal approval for a mechanical heart valve that has fractured, killing hundreds of patients worldwide. Under the settlement, Pfizer also agreed to pay $9.25 million in coming years to monitor patients who received the device at Veterans Administration hospitals or pay for its removal. The deal was criticized by consumer rights activists who urged Government officials to bring criminal charges and lobbied for a steeper civil penalty for the multibillion-dollar company that had covered up safety concerns even as the device was killing patients.
In 1996, Pfizer administered an experimental drug during a clinical trial on 200 children in Nigeria but never told the parents that their children were the subjects of an experiment. Eleven of the children died and many others suffered side effects such as brain damage and organ failure. A report by Nigeria’s health ministry concluded, the experiment was “an illegal trial of an unregistered drug,” a “clear case of exploitation of the ignorant,” and a violation of Nigerian and international law. Pfizer did not obtain consent or inform the patients that they were the subjects of an experiment, not the recipients of an approved drug.
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