Nevada and other states settle with Pfizer over antibiotic ads
ALBANY, N.Y. — Pfizer Inc. reached a $6 million settlement with Nevada and 18 other states Monday that requires the drug maker to change how it promotes its best-selling antibiotic Zithromax.
The states had accused Pfizer of misrepresenting the performance of the drug, which is used primarily to treat ear infections in children and respiratory ailments in adults.
Zithromax works with fewer doses and fewer days, but that doesn’t make it superior to other antibiotics, said Christine Pritchard, spokeswoman for New York Attorney General Eliot Spitzer. She said Pfizer failed to disclose that physicians weigh other factors when prescribing treatment for ear infections.
Pfizer admitted no guilt in the settlement.
“Pfizer maintains that all of the advertising and promotional materials for Zithromax have been consistent with the medicine’s labeling, which is approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration,” Pfizer spokeswoman Mariann Caprino said.
Pfizer will pay $2 million toward public service announcements through March 2005 and promised to inform customers about factors physicians consider when prescribing antibiotics. It will also provide $4 million to cover the cost of the states’ investigations.
Besides Nevada and New York, states pursuing the settlement were Arizona, Arkansas, California, Connecticut, Florida, Kansas, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Tennessee, Texas, Vermont and Wisconsin.
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