Neurontin Lawsuit Verdict of $142M Upheld By Appeals Court

A federal appeals court has upheld a $142 million jury verdict in a case involving Pfizer’s epilepsy drug Neurontin, and opened the door for potentially even more lawsuits. 

On April 3, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit in Boston issued an opinion that rejects an attempt by Pfizer to overturn a verdict obtained by Kaiser Foundation, which sued the drug maker for illegally promoting Neurontin for the treatment of migraines, bipolar disorder and other conditions not approved by the FDA.

In March 2012, a jury awarded $47.36 million in damages, but U.S. District Judge Patti Saris tripled the award to $142 million under provisions governing U.S. racketeering laws.

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Judge Saris upheld the decision in January, when Pfizer first appealed. However, she rejected efforts by the plaintiff to have interest added to the amount. She also blocked efforts by third-party payers, like health insurers and unions, to enter into a Neurontin off-label marketing class action lawsuit.

Pfizer challenged the decision before the U.S Court of Appeals, which upheld the jury verdict and Judge Saris’s decision to triple the amount under the U.S. Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations (RICO) Act, but reversed her ruling preventing a third-party class action lawsuit, giving those cases the green light to go forward. The panel of judges also rejected a call by Pfizer for a new trial.

“Pfizer fraudulently marketed to physicians with the intent that those physicians would write prescriptions paid for by Kaiser,” the court determined. “The fraudulent scheme worked as intended, inducing a huge increase in Neurontin prescriptions for off-label uses.”

Hundreds of Neurontin Suicide Lawsuits Filed

The case is just one of about 1,200 Neurontin lawsuits that Pfizer is facing. Most of the complaints have been brought by individual plaintiffs, who allege that Neurontin side effects increase the risk of suicide.

In 2008, the FDA required Neurontin and similar epilepsy drugs to begin carrying label warnings alerting users to the risk of suicidal thoughts. All of the federal lawsuits have been consolidated before Judge Saris as part of a multidistrict litigation (MDL).

Neurontin (gabapentin) is an epilepsy medication approved by the FDA in 1983, which generated $387 million in sales for Pfizer in 2008.

While doctors are free to prescribe drugs for uses not approved by the FDA, manufacturers are prohibited from marketing the drugs for such uses that they have not established are safe and effective.

In 2004, Parke-Davis, a division of Warner-Lambert that was acquired by Pfizer, paid $430 million to the U.S. Justice Department over claims that they were illegally promoting Neurontin for off-label uses, including control of mood swings.

In 2009, Pfizer paid the Justice Department $2.3 billion to settle a number of off-label marketing claims which included its marketing of Neurontin.

10 Comments

  • CynthiaApril 1, 2018 at 8:12 pm

    This drug is toxic and leads to death and catastrophic injuries. These are the drug dealers that deserve to spend eternity in hell. I have hemolytic anemia since birth, and hearing impaired since birth. These people are the ones guilty of genocide. They kill and injure more people than died in the Twin Towers. There is absolutely a second filing rights for injured patients. This medicine ca[Show More]This drug is toxic and leads to death and catastrophic injuries. These are the drug dealers that deserve to spend eternity in hell. I have hemolytic anemia since birth, and hearing impaired since birth. These people are the ones guilty of genocide. They kill and injure more people than died in the Twin Towers. There is absolutely a second filing rights for injured patients. This medicine causes such injuries that requires a moment to come to. I demand on behalf of all of us that you deliver proper Omega supplements to every single person and family your company has poisoned. You are fired, and are truly the devils advocate. Sincerely yours, Lady Cynthia Louise Zeedijk

  • SherriJanuary 20, 2018 at 1:54 pm

    I have had memory loss for about the past 3 years. I have been on this medication since i broke my leg in 2002. Was given this drug to help with the nerve pain in my leg after breaking it and getting compartment syndrome. I also had to have my leg cut on again to scrape the bone from an infection i received. I have gained a lot of weight too. I went from 120lbs to now 170lbs. I have never weighed[Show More]I have had memory loss for about the past 3 years. I have been on this medication since i broke my leg in 2002. Was given this drug to help with the nerve pain in my leg after breaking it and getting compartment syndrome. I also had to have my leg cut on again to scrape the bone from an infection i received. I have gained a lot of weight too. I went from 120lbs to now 170lbs. I have never weighed more than 120lbs my whole life unless i was pregnant and even then i didn't weight this much. I don't know what to do. Please tell me if i qualify for this lawsuit and if i should stop taking this medicine for the uses they have given it to me for.

  • RandySeptember 14, 2016 at 10:37 pm

    Hi, I was prescribed neurottin 800 mg,its made me feel sick,bad headaches,suicidal,I am 44 yrs old, my legs swelled huge and I have bein going through terrible rashes,I have pitchers of it all, IV bein in the ER over it.

  • JeannaMarch 13, 2016 at 7:29 am

    I have been on neurotin for many years and I have been having some memory loss, so I decided to get off of it. I would forget things, I would not remember just little things from two days ago. It was frustrating.

  • SusieJune 19, 2014 at 10:46 pm

    I was treated with Neurontin beginning in 1995. In 1997 I stopped taking it and went to another Neurologist because I was losing my memory. At each visit I reported to the Doctors something is wrong with my memory. I was forgetting phone numbers, keys, people I knew, everything. Bad headaches and other effects also. They did not pay attention to that, it was like they did not even care about wh[Show More]I was treated with Neurontin beginning in 1995. In 1997 I stopped taking it and went to another Neurologist because I was losing my memory. At each visit I reported to the Doctors something is wrong with my memory. I was forgetting phone numbers, keys, people I knew, everything. Bad headaches and other effects also. They did not pay attention to that, it was like they did not even care about what I was saying. They kept increasing the dosages because of the seizures I was having. After testing with my present Neurologist, the diagnosis was permanent memory loss damage.. Over the years it has only gotten worse.. There are a couple of other problems I deal with because of the memory loss that is out of my control. I did not know about that side effects and they did not tell me either. I found out after the damage was done..

  • TheresaOctober 18, 2013 at 12:51 pm

    I recently lost my husband of 30 years in a horrible accident this past January 2, 2013. He backed up into the line of oncoming traffic while snowblowing our driveway with a 4 wheeler. He had been on Gabapentin for many years. He had lived with all of the side effects listed. We did not realize that this drug was causing his bad side effects nor did we realize that the drug could cause suicida[Show More]I recently lost my husband of 30 years in a horrible accident this past January 2, 2013. He backed up into the line of oncoming traffic while snowblowing our driveway with a 4 wheeler. He had been on Gabapentin for many years. He had lived with all of the side effects listed. We did not realize that this drug was causing his bad side effects nor did we realize that the drug could cause suicidal thoughts. I have lived in anguish since the accident thinking that my husband must have been suicidal to back up into the line of oncoming traffic but couldn't/wouldn't let myself go there...I now ask myself, is this what happened? Did this drug cause the accident...I need answers, Please!! I still have his prescriptions, both empty and full/partial bottles. One has 5 refills listed on it.

  • BrendaAugust 16, 2013 at 6:11 pm

    I have been taking Neurontin for many years and over time have become very ill. I am now trying to taper off it by myself as the Doctors don't want to get involved. Can I get in on this lawsuit or is there anything I can do to get help?

  • noraMay 14, 2013 at 8:53 pm

    i suffer bad side effects from the drug and doctor told me too stop itand my son was on it for some years

  • ElizabethMay 13, 2013 at 7:27 pm

    I have been on Neurotin for many years for nerve pain. What are some of the side effects and if deemed could I get into the lawsuit still?

  • DianaApril 6, 2013 at 9:38 am

    I was prescribed Nuerontin for many years, and are suffering many side effects from that drug. Can I get involved in the class action lawsuit?

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