Pfizer was charged with a crime -- but the company’s “imaginary friend” took all the blame.
“Pfizer, the world's largest pharmaceutical company, was caught illegally marketing Bextra, a painkiller that was taken off the market in 2005 because of safety concerns.
When the criminal case was announced last fall, federal officials touted their prosecution as a model for tough, effective enforcement,” CNN reported.
In reality, however, a CNN Special Investigation found that Pfizer was actually “too big to nail.”
Why? As CNN reported:
“Because any company convicted of a major health care fraud is automatically excluded from Medicare and Medicaid. Convicting Pfizer on Bextra would prevent the company from billing federal health programs for any of its products. It would be a corporate death sentence.
So Pfizer and the feds cut a deal. Instead of charging Pfizer with a crime, prosecutors would charge a Pfizer subsidiary, Pharmacia & Upjohn Co. Inc. … [This] subsidiary is nothing more than a shell company whose only function is to plead guilty.”