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In re Pfizer Inc. Shareholder Derivative Litigation
United States District Court for the Southern District of New York
722 F. Supp. 2d 453 (2010)
In 2009 the United States Department of Justice imposed a $2.3 billion fine on Pfizer, Inc., for illegally marketing Bextra and Celebrex, prescription pain relievers manufactured by Pfizer and its subsidiary Pharmacia, for off-label uses that were not approved by the Federal Drug Administration. Pfizer and its subsidiaries engaged in a pattern of off-label drug marketing and had been fined for those practices multiple times prior to 2009. Pfizer’s sales representatives promoted off-label uses to physicians and were encouraged to make false claims about the safety of these uses. Pfizer also commissioned articles published in medical journals that promoted off-label uses for certain prescription drugs and held educational programs to promote the off-label uses to physicians. Several investors (collectively, the investors) (plaintiffs) filed shareholder derivative suits against Pfizer executives and board members (collectively, the directors) (defendants) seeking recovery on behalf of Pfizer from the directors. The investors claimed that the directors were responsible for the misconduct that resulted in the fines and concluded that the directors should be held liable for the illegal drug marketing. The directors filed a motion to dismiss the case because the investors had failed to send a demand letter to the directors asking the directors to remedy the wrongdoing.
Rule of Law
Holding and Reasoning (Rakoff, J.)
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