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As Long as the Government Allows Fraud, it’s ok, Says Pfizer

Note: This article may contain commentary or the author's opinion.

A lawsuit has been filed against Pfizer by whistleblower Brook Jackson which alleges that Pfizer and two of their contractors falsified data and committed other acts of fraud during Pfizer’s Covid-19 clinical trials back in 2021.

  Robert Barnes, who is representing Jackson, said Pfizer is arguing that the lawsuit should be dismissed because the government was aware of the fraud conducted during the trials, but that the government continued to allow Pfizer to produce the vaccines which have been the subject of controversy since they started being administered, and as such, have been the cause of many adverse effects in otherwise healthy people, specifically in young adults. 

Before 2016, under the False Claims Act, whistleblowers were rewarded for confidentially disclosing fraud that resulted in a financial loss to the federal government. After a Supreme Court decision in 2016, the scope of a legal principle known as “materiality” was expanded, resulting in fraud cases being brought before the federal court.

If the government continued to pay a contractor despite that contractor’s fraudulent activity, the fraud was previously not considered “material” to the contract. Pfizer is a federal contractor because it signed multiple contracts with the U.S. government to provide COVID-19 vaccines and Paxlovid, a pill currently used to treat the Covid-19 virus.

“Pfizer claims they can get away with fraud as long as the government would write them a check despite knowing about the fraud,” Barnes said. In other words, they are corporate pharma snakes. 

 Ventavia Research Group, which conducted vaccine trials on behalf of Pfizer, and ICON PLC, another Pfizer contractor, are also defendants in Jackson’s lawsuit against Pfizer. 

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To reinforce the False Claims Act’s anti-retaliation clauses and put new safeguards in place to prevent companies from blacklisting whistleblowers seeking employment, Congress passed the False Claims Amendments Act of 2021 in July of last year.

In December 2021, Pfizer hired a well-connected lobbyist, Hazen Marshall, and the law firm Williams & Jensen to lobby against the False Claims Amendments Act of 2021. 

“Pfizer, one of the most criminally fined drug companies in the world, wants to weaken the laws that hold them accountable,” Attorney Barnes said. 

Pfizer has had to pay out nearly 2.3 billion dollars in fines in connection with the False Claims Act in 2009, resulting from the most significant healthcare fraud case in the history of the U.S. Department of Justice and the history of pharmaceutical malfeasance. The lawsuit stemmed from allegations of Pfizer’s illegal marketing of off-label products that had never been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Attorney Robert Barnes says that the outcome of this case against Pfizer is not only significant to his client, Brooke Jackson but to the American public as well. 

“This case will determine if Big Pharma can rip off the American people using a dangerous drug that harms millions without any legal remedy because they claim the government was in on the scam.”

Jackson, who had more than ’15 years of experience working with clinical trials, had repeatedly informed her superiors of poor laboratory management, patient safety concerns, and data integrity issues”.

“She was part of the clinical trials, witnessed extraordinary malfeasance, blew the whistle, and was quickly fired after she blew the whistle.”