Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton is suing Pfizer and drug manufacturer Tris Pharma for fraud, alleging they provided “adulterated” attention deficit disorder medications to underprivileged children in the Lone Star State.
The lawsuit claims Pfizer knowingly distributed the powerful pediatric ADHD drug Quillivant to children on Medicaid “despite knowing Quillivant was adulterated due to deficient manufacturing practice”, and despite the drug’s pattern of failing routine quality control tests.
When patients’ families complained that the drug was not working, Pfizer and Tris “manipulated Quillivant testing to hide poor manufacturing practices and defraud the Texas Medicaid program”.
As a result, thousands of Texas children received an “adulterated Schedule II Controlled Dangerous Substance,” Paxton claims.
Pfizer initially blamed the children and their caregivers, suggesting that they were not properly shaking the medication before using it.
“I am horrified by the dishonesty we uncovered in this investigation,” Paxton said in a statement.
“Pfizer and Tris intentionally concealed and failed to disclose the issues with Quillivant to receive taxpayer-funded benefits through Texas Medicaid, defrauding the state and endangering children.”
A separate suit alleges Tris and its CEO Ketan Mehta exaggerated the effectiveness of another ADHD drug for children, Dyanavel, and thus defrauded the Texas Medicaid program.
“Tris directed their sales representatives to deliver false and misleading messages about Dyanavel to doctors in Texas, including Medicaid doctors,” the suit alleges. “Sales representatives falsely told doctors that Dyanavel worked significantly faster than other drugs and provided other unproven benefits to pediatric patients.”
Paxton has declared war on “pharmaceutical companies who violate the public’s trust and hurt the people of Texas. [They] will be brought to justice to the fullest extent of the law.”
In each lawsuit, unsealed Monday, Texas is seeking damages of more than $1 million, fines and the return of all Medicaid funds.
The legal action is the latest salvo in the Attorney General’s campaign against Pfizer, which he alleges overstated the effectiveness of its COVID-19 vaccines. He launched an investigation this past May into Pfizer and Moderna.
Both vaccine manufacturers have strongly denied the AG’s claims.