Pfizer recently set several records with its experimental COVID-19 vaccine in the United States: the first to apply for and receive full FDA approval and approval for boosters, and the first to claim its experimental vaccine is ‘safe’ for children.
By Chelli Stanley
Pfizer greatly accelerated the speed of experimental COVID-19 vaccine approval far beyond what even its oft-quoted representative, Scott Gottlieb, predicted when he said “we need to assume that a vaccine may be two years away” in April 2020.
Pfizer has set many other records in its history. Pfizer held the record for paying the largest fine under the Clean Water Act when it paid $3.1 million in 1991 “for dumping pollutants into the Delaware River from 1981 to 1987. Federal officials said it was the largest penalty of its kind, but Pfizer disputed that it was the largest.”
“The EPA said pollutants were discharged at levels toxic to aquatic life that depleted the river’s oxygen supply. But Pfizer said it was ‘unaware of any evidence that Pfizer’s discharges caused any environmental harm or damage to aquatic life in the Delaware.’”
Pfizer went on to set another record in 2009 when it paid “$2.3 billion, the largest health care fraud settlement in the history of the Department of Justice.”
A government attorney said the fines against Pfizer were part of an ongoing effort “to protect the American public from those who seek to earn a profit through fraud.”
“The size and seriousness of this resolution reflect the seriousness and scope of Pfizer’s crimes,” saidanother government attorney. “Pfizer violated the law over an extensive time period. Today’s enormous fine demonstrates that such blatant and continued disregard of the law will not be tolerated.”
The $2.3 billion fine against Pfizer was sparked by whistleblower John Kopchinski, who said Pfizer was promoting its drugs “for problems far wider than approved uses. He contended that this put patients at risk of heart attacks, strokes and blood clots. ‘At Pfizer I was expected to increase profits at all costs, even when sales meant endangering lives. I couldn’t do that.’”
The New York Times reported that the fine amounted “to less than three weeks of Pfizer’s sales.”