| Pfizer |
|Headquarters||New York City|
|Interest of||Ehden Biber, Tiffany Dover, Fazze, Owen Smith, Vasudha Vats|
|Member of||Business Roundtable, Council on Foreign Relations/Corporate Members, Transatlantic Policy Network|
|Sponsored by||Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation|
|A multinational big pharma company. Making a killing during COVID|
Pfizer Inc. is a multinational pharmaceutical corporation. In 2012, it was one of the world's largest pharmaceutical companies and ranked 57 on the 2018 Fortune 500 list of the largest United States corporations by total revenue, a position it has reached through aggressive marketing and buying up competitors.
- 1 Mergers
- 2 Products
- 3 COVID-19 vaccine
- 4 Criminal and Unethical Activities
- 5 Event Sponsored
- 6 References
Pfizer has a long history of mergers, partly for tax reasons, partly to get rid of competitors. In 2016, Pfizer was expected to merge with Allergan to create the Ireland-based "Pfizer plc" in a deal that would have been worth US$160 billion. The merger was called off in April 2016, however, because of new rules from the US Department of the Treasury against tax inversions, a method of avoiding taxes by merging with a foreign company. The company has made the second-largest pharmaceutical settlement with the United States Department of Justice.
Pfizer develops and produces medicines and vaccines for a wide range of medical disciplines, including immunology, oncology, cardiology, endocrinology, and neurology. Its products include the blockbuster drug Lipitor (atorvastatin), used to lower Low-density lipoprotein (LDL) blood cholesterol; Lyrica (pregabalin) for neuropathic pain and fibromyalgia; Diflucan (fluconazole), an oral antifungal medication; Zithromax (azithromycin), an antibiotic; Viagra (sildenafil) for erectile dysfunction; and Celebrex (also Celebra, celecoxib), an anti-inflammatory drug.
- Full article: Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
- Full article: Pfizer–BioNTech COVID-19 vaccine
On 9 November 2020, Pfizer and partner BioNTech announced that their vaccine against COVID-19 was exceeding expectations. In a press conference Ben Osborn, Pfizer’s UK managing director, "refused to explain why the company needed an indemnity."
Criminal and Unethical Activities
- Pfizer has been at the center of controversies over price fixing for more than 50 years. In 1958 it was one of six drug companies accused by the Federal Trade Commission of fixing prices on antibiotics. The company was also charged with making false statements to the U.S. Patent Office to obtain a patent on tetracycline.
Withholding Safety Problems
- The US Food and Drug Administration expressed great concern about reports of dozens of fatalities linked to heart valves made by Pfizer’s Shiley division. In 1986, as the death toll reached 125, Pfizer ended production of all models of the valves. Yet by that point they were implanted in tens of thousands of people, who worried that the devices could fracture and fail at any moment.
In 1991 an FDA task force charged that Shiley had withheld information about safety problems from regulators in order to get initial approval for its valves and that the company continued to keep the FDA in the dark. A November 7, 1991 investigation in the Wall Street Journal asserted that Shiley had been deliberately falsifying manufacturing records relating to valve fractures.
Withholding Trial Results
- In 2004, in the wake of revelations about dangerous side effects of Merck’s painkiller Vioxx, Pfizer agreed to suspend television advertising for a related medication called Celebrex. The following year, Pfizer admitted that a 1999 clinical trial found that elderly patients taking Celebrex had a greatly elevated risk of heart problems.
Testing Dangerous Drugs in Africa
- In 2000 Pfizer was accused of testing a dangerous new antibiotic called Trovan on children in Nigeria without receiving proper consent from their parents. The experiment occurred during a 1996 meningitis epidemic in the country. In 2001 Pfizer was sued in U.S. federal court by thirty Nigerian families, who accused the company of using their children as human guinea pigs. In 2006 a panel of Nigerian medical experts concluded that Pfizer had violated international law. In 2009 the company agreed to pay $75 million to settle some of the lawsuits that had been brought in Nigerian courts. BBC reported on WikiLeaks cables that showed that Pfizer "used dirty tricks to avoid clinical trial payout", the company hired investigators to find evidence of corruption on Nigerian attorney general to persuade him to drop legal action. The U.S. case was settled in 2011 for an undisclosed amount.
Lying and Digging Dirt on Opponents
Classified U.S. State Department cables made public in 2010 by Wikileaks indicated that Pfizer had hired investigators to dig up dirt on Nigeria’s former attorney general as a way to get leverage in one of the remaining cases. Pfizer had to apologize over the revelation in the cables that it had falsely claimed that the group Doctors Without Borders was also dispensing Trovan during the Nigerian meningitis epidemic.
In 1976 Pfizer was one of the many companies that disclosed that it had made questionable payments to foreign government officials. The company said that about $265,000 had been paid to officials in three countries but did not identify them.
In August 2012 the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission announced that it had reached a $45 million settlement with Pfizer to resolve charges that its subsidiaries, especially Wyeth, had bribed overseas doctors and other healthcare professionals to increase foreign sales.
Firing Employees for Raising Safety Concerns
In 2010 a US federal jury awarded $1.37 million to a former Pfizer scientist who claimed she was sickened by a genetically engineered virus at a company lab and was then fired for raising safety concerns.
COVID vaccine lawsuits
|Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation||Very influential and rich foundation established to take leadership of global health.|
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- "Pfizer to buy Allergan in $160 billion deal"
- "Pfizer, Allergan scrap $160 billion deal after U.S. tax rule change"
- "GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer merge healthcare arms"