The drug company Pfizer is best known for Lipitor, a drug that brings cholesterol down and Viagra, a drug that brings other things up. But the “world’s largest research-based pharmaceutical company” which sits between Goldman Sachs and Marathon Oil on the Fortune 500, is also closely associated with a seemingly never-ending series of scandals.
The FDA’s letter to Pfizer (PFE) describing overdoses of the antipsychotic Geodon given to 13 children in clinical trials is merely the latest in a long history of controversies that have dogged the drug at virtually every stage of its existence. Among those controversies: Discredited doctors allegedly prepared research on Geodon for the FDA; Pfizer allegedly promoted the drug for unapproved uses in kids; and the company allegedly paid a non-profit mental health advocacy group to promote Geodon for kids.
Drugmakers encouraged doctors to prescribe these drugs for children before the FDA sanctioned their use for youngsters. This was particularly troubling, given that the drugs can cause diabetes and weight gain, side effects that prompted thousands of lawsuits claiming that drugmakers tried to hide evidence of these problems.
Betty McCollum, a Democrat from Minnesota, has introduced a bill that prohibits companies with a felony conviction from receiving any federal funding for five years after a conviction; prohibits corporate felons from making federal campaign contributions for five years, and limits the lobbying the corporation can do during that period to $1 million.