A federal jury in Boston recently returned a verdict against Pfizer Inc. in connection with claims that Pfizer unlawfully promoted off-label uses of its anti-epilepsy drug Neurontin. The plaintiffs, a group of hospitals and HMOs, claimed that Pfizer had fooled them into believing that Neurontin was effective in the treatment of bipolar disorder, neuropathic pain and other conditions. At trial, the plaintiffs argued that Pfizer had suppressed its own research findings that the drug was ineffective when used for the off-label treatments.

The jury’s verdict included $47 million in damages, the largest component of which was related to the alleged promotion of Neurontin for the treatment of neuropathic pain. The award was tripled to $141 million by operation of the Racketeer Influenced and Corrupt Organizations Act, which was the basis for some of the plaintiffs' claims.

Pfizer has announced that it will appeal the verdict.