Monday, August 10, 2009


Accusations of Witness Intimidation in the Neurontin Trial

According to the American Laywer (, Pfizer has been accused of using a private detectice and former CIA agent to intimidate Dr. David Franklin, well known as the whistleblower who initiated the Neurontin qui tam suit that, for many years, was the largest criminal and civil bust for off-label promotion (until Pfizer's marketing of Bextra and Lilly's of Zyprexa broke the Neurontin record).

See the story at:

Once again, this is the sort of behavior, if it occurred, which is entirely outside the scope of FDA jurisdiction but relevant in civil suits. And thus another reason why even a utopian FDA would not cover delinquencies covered by civil liability, and thus why FDA preemption remains a bankrupt doctrine.


  1. Who are these people? The day before Dr. Franklin is to testify his wife answers two phone calls from a detective who says he needs to deliver a message to the doctor. His second call is threatening. Things outside look a bit scary. A truck, missing its front license plate, blocks Franklin’s driveway; a man paces back and forth while talking on a cell phone. The Franklins are frightened. Bada Bing! Case dismissed with prejudice.

    Is this for real? Or an episode from the Sopranos?

  2. If you haven't read it, the NYT series which told Franklin's story is about as chilling as such stories get--not about threats to him, but about what he participated in as a (then) Warner-Lambert medical marketeer.

    These included not only promoting off-label, but for uses in which it was potentially injurious and for which not data on benefit existed.

    The DOJ summary of the prosecution against the company was clear that all these efforts were centrally coordinated.

  3. Hey Justice,

    I have read this and it is quite chilling. I really do hope that this trial gets a second chance when the acts of intimidation have been carefully reviewed.

    I wonder if all future whistle-blowers will have to go into some sort of witness protection program.

    Much like was pointed out, I find the claims of Pfizer's lawyers to be disingenuous as well, in light of the fact that Mr. Greene has represented Dr. Franklin for over a decade. They knew his address, how to reach him, if one does not want to be intimidating, a professional such as the private investigator is/was (?) would have surely been able to handle this better.


  4. Speaking of chilling (and the Sopranos) the Dept. of Justice's original summary of the Neurontin case can be found at:

    As noted, the penalties against Warner-Lambert (now Pfizer) were record-breaking for this kind of offense until Lilly and Pfizer itself smashed it this past year.


Note - Due to a time out issue with Blogger, you may receive a message that requires you to resend your comment. This will not affect its contents.