PA pharmacist fined for Pfizer ties
Head Pa. Pharmacist Fined by Ethics Panel
April 15, 2005, 11:11 AM EDT
HARRISBURG, Pa. -- The state's top pharmacist repeatedly took money from a drug maker and other outside sources, violating ethics laws, a government panel found.
The State Ethics Commission fined Steven Fiorello more than $27,000 and referred the case to the state attorney general's office for possible criminal prosecution.
Looking back as far as 1998, the commission cited repeated conflicts between Fiorello's unofficial activities and his official duties at the Department of Public Welfare, which included serving on a panel that decides which medications may be given to patients at the nine state mental hospitals. The report also cited repeated failures to disclose his income from Pfizer Inc. and other outside sources.
This is really outrageous. Fiorello, a public official, accepted company money to present the results of a state-financed study:
In 1999, he teamed up with a Pfizer official on a state-financed study of antidepressants that showed Zoloft, a Pfizer product, to be among the least expensive drugs of that type, according to the commission. Fiorello later received two $1,000 payments from Pfizer to present the study's findings at company-sponsored conferences -- one of 20 violations the commission identified.
I hope this judgment has a chilling effect. The Fiorello case is just one instance of Big Pharma's attempts to manipulate public public officials.