Pfizer's "Witness Tampering" Motion in Neurontin Case Is Denied
By Jim Edwards | Oct 14, 2009
A federal judge has ruled against Pfizer’s request for sanctions against a witness in the Neurontin litigation whom it alleged had attempted to wrongly influence another witness in the case. The judge dismissed Pfizer’s allegations with just four words:
This Motion is DENIED.
The ruling draws to a close a gossipy sideshow that mostly has nothing to do with the meat of the case: Whether Pfizer wrongly promoted Neurontin so that patients who never should have been on the drug ended up with prescriptions for it.
Pfizer had complained that Dr. David Egilman, an expert witness in the case, had sent a truncated copy of a controversial email to another witness in the case, the doctor who treated Hartley Shearer, a Massachusetts man whose family claims he killed himself after taking the drug. (BNET revealed that the email was from former Pfizer vp/neuroscience Atul Pande, telling a colleague that there is “negligible evidence” for the use of Neurontin in bipolar disorder and that the drug is “not a good anti-manic treatment.”)
Pfizer claimed that Egilman had “cherry-picked” the document and that he was attempting to tamper with the witness. In response, the plaintiffs’ lawyers accused Pfizer of “blatant hypocrisy” because in another Neurontin case the company had sent an ex-CIA agent to the house of a witness and terrified his family.