The Justice Department on Tuesday joined a whistle-blower lawsuit against Pfizer and its subsidiary Wyeth Pharmaceuticals that accuses Wyeth of illegal off-label marketing of Rapamune, a drug used to prevent rejection of kidney transplants.
Reuben A. Guttman, lawyer for two former Wyeth employees, predicted that the government action could result in recovery of hundreds of millions of dollars in inappropriate billings to public health programs. Nineteen states, including New York, and the District of Columbia also joined the filing.
“It’s always good to have the government on your side,” Mr. Guttman said.
Ray Kerins, a Pfizer spokesman, said the company had previously disclosed that it was cooperating with a government review of Wyeth’s promotional practices involving Rapamune. Pfizer also disclosed in February that there was a criminal investigation into the marketing.