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Court Remands Whistleblower Lawsuit Against Pfizer & Pharmacia Corp.

BOSTON (CN) - The First Circuit affirmed dismissal of a whistleblower's lawsuit accusing Pfizer and Pharmacia Corp. of advertising the human growth hormone Genotropin for off-label uses, but it rejected the defendants' argument that the court lacks jurisdiction under the False Claims Act.

Dr. Peter Rost claimed Pfizer's marketing misconduct led doctors to file Medicaid claims for "unreimbursable, off-label prescriptions" that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. He also suspected the Pharmacia of using a Genotropin "study program" to funnel money to doctors for prescribing the drug.

The Act does not bar Rost's claims, the circuit ruled, but Rost failed to meet the pleading requirements for fraud. The circuit remanded to let the lower court reconsider Rost's request for leave to amend. See ruling in U.S. v. Pfizer.

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