So the state Office of Consumer Protection (OCP) recently announced that Hawaii–along with 41 other states–really put the screws to drug maker Pfizer and managed to squeeze a $35 million settlement out of the company over its immunosuppressive drug Rapamune. The states’ complaints were that Pfizer had misrepresented the uses and benefits of Rapamune, which violated our consumer protection laws.
“OCP has taken action in multiple cases over the past few years to protect Hawaii consumers from unscrupulous pharmaceutical marketing practices,” OCP Executive Director Bruce Kim said in an Aug. 6 news release. “Today’s complaint and judgment creates important protections for consumers by putting an end to the marketing of Rapamune based on unsubstantiated claims and stops questionable practices promoting it for unapproved off-label uses. OCP will continue to look out for pharmaceutical companies that put profits over the interests of consumers.”
To put the $35 million settlement figure into perspective, TheStreet.com reported on Aug. 6 that Pfizer made $350 million from Rapamune in 2013. They also reported that Pfizer has been “significantly underperformed” lately, earning just $2.9 billion in net income during the latest quarter, which was down $14.1 billion the previous quarter last year.
Hawaii’s share of the settlement is $448,000. Did I mention that the settlement did not require Pfizer to make any admission of wrong-doing? Did I need to?