Pfizer, the manufacturer of the epilepsy medication Neurontin has been involved in many claims by plaintiffs who blame the drug for creating suicidal tendencies. One such lawsuit, by a Massachusetts’ man's survivors, has just been settled by Pfizer for a reported $400,000. The lawsuit was settled part-way through the trial. This is the first settlement of a Neurontin lawsuit.
The basis for the suit, as in all the Neurontin claims, was that Pfizer knew the drug posed a suicide risk and failed to disclose it to patients and doctors. There are more than 1000 remaining Neurontin lawsuits against Pfizer, all saying that Pfizer illegally promoted Neurontin for unapproved uses and helped cause some users’ suicides.
This settlement comes only a week after another jury ordered Pfizer to pay more than $140 million in damages to an insurance company in a lawsuit also involving Neurontin. In addition to the civil lawsuits, the Warner-Lambert subsidiary of Pfizer pleaded guilty in 2004 to criminal charges filed by the Justice Department in connection with allegations it illegally marketed Neurontin.
Still another jury last month said Pfizer must pay Kaiser Foundation Health Plan $47.4 million for misleading doctors on whether Neurontin was effective for illnesses such as migraines and bipolar disorder. That jury found the drugmaker violated the federal Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, or RICO, and California’s Unfair Competition Law. Pfizer also paid $2.3 billion in October 2009 to settle allegations it illegally marketed the painkiller Bextra and three other drugs.