"Pfizer Math" Showed Lyrica Superiority Even Though Studies Never Said That, Rep Claims

Last Updated Sep 15, 2009 10:49 AM EDT

Pfizer used "Pfizer Math" to persuade doctors that Lyrica was superior to two anti-seizure drugs, Neurontin and Keppra, when no comparable studies had been done -- and Lyrica was not approved to treat seizures -- according to two former pharmaceutical sales reps.

According to the suit (settled as part of the $2.3 billion Bextra deal):
Pfizer representatives were trained to, and did, use what they called internally "Pfizer Math" to intentionally create the false impression that there had been head-to-head comparisons between Keppra and Lyrica showing Lyrica superiority when there were no such studies.
Pfizer denied the allegations:
Pfizer denies all federal, state and qui tam allegations, with two exceptions. We acknowledge certain improper actions related to the past promotion of Bextra and Zyvox. Beyond those two exceptions we deny all federal and state and qui tam claims.
In terms of Neurontin, Farber alleges reps were given two studies, "Dworkin" and "Rowbotham," to tell doctors about:

(Click to enlarge) There are no adequate, controlled, head-to-head studies of Lyrica vs. Neurontin, Farber claims. In 2006, Pfizer withdrew the sales materials in which the two studies were compared, the suit claims.

Lyrica was given a histrionic launch in 2005, according to the suit:

The suit was brought by David Farber, an Iowa City, Iowa, rep, and Casey Schildhauer of Los Angeles. The law firms representing them were Blank Rome of Washington, D.C., and Robins, Kaplan, Miller & Ciresi of Boston. Farber and Schildhauer both claim they were let go by Pfizer after they complained about the way Lyrica and other drugs were promoted.