Pfizer, the largest pharmaceutical company in the world, was founded in 1849. It has been prosecuted for illegal marketing and misleading advertising for a number of drugs like arthritis drug Bextra (valdecoxib), Centrum multivitamins, bladder drug Detrol (tolterodine), anti-epilepsy drug Neurotonin (gabapentin), statin medication Lipitor (atorvastatin) and kidney transplant drug Rapamune (sirolimus). It paid the U.S. government $2.3 billion in 2009 after pleading guilty to the illegal marketing of Bextra. The company was also sued in Nigeria for conducting drug trials with trovafloxacin, an experimental antibiotic, during a meningitis epidemic in Nigeria in 1996 without getting permission from their parents, dozens of whom died subsequently.


Branded pharmaceuticals, Generic pharmaceuticals, Vaccines


Top 5 Offense Groups (Groups Defined)Penalty TotalNumber of Records
healthcare-related offenses$3,373,675,00010
government-contracting-related offenses$1,109,688,43519
safety-related offenses$104,014,25511
competition-related offenses$63,466,5686
environment-related offenses$4,571,88519

(April 14, 2021)

Number of Records
Total Penalties
$4,660,896,333 (April 14, 2021)
Individual Records & Summaries
Pfizer Violation Tracker
Information in this section is drawn from the Violation Tracker database produced by the Corporate Research Project of Good Jobs First in Washington DC. It is the most comprehensive source of data on business violations of laws and regulations in the United States. For specific examples of misconduct, please click on the links.


Article Archive

BCBS names Pfizer managers in kickback suit

Published by
Feirce Pharma
Tracy Staton

Blue Cross Blue Shield has slapped Pfizer with a lawsuit over its marketing of three drugs, saying the company pushed off-label uses of the drugs and used "kickbacks" to persuade doctors to prescribe them.

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Pfizer confronts surge of lawsuits over Lipitor

Published by
Jessica Dye

Pharmaceutical giant Pfizer is facing a mounting wave of lawsuits by women who allege that the company knew about possible serious side effects of its blockbuster anti-cholesterol drug Lipitor but never properly warned the public.

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Pfizer yanks breast, colon claims for Centrum vitamins

Published by
Ransdell Pierson, Anna Yukhananov

Pfizer Inc, bowing to allegations of deceptive advertising lodged by a consumer watchdog group, has agreed to drop “breast health” and “colon health” claims from the labels of its widely used Centrum multivitamin supplements.

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Videos & Podcasts
Pfizer Penicillin Protest
California to begin Covid-19 vaccine rollout of 327,000 Pfizer doses


  • Benchmarking AIDS: Evaluating Pharmaceutical Company Responses to the Public Health Crisis in Emerging Markets (Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, 2006).
  • Branding the Cure: A Consumer Perspective on Corporate Social Responsibility, Drug Promotion and the Pharmaceutical Industry in Europe (Consumers International, 2006).
  • Corporate Crime in the Pharmaceutical Industry (1984; revised edition 2014).
  • Formula for Fairness: Patient Rights Before Patent Rights (Oxfam International, 2001).
  • Investing for Life: Meeting Poor People’s Needs for Access to Medicines through Responsible Business Practices (Oxfam International, 2007).
  • The Legend of Pfizer by Jeffrey Rodengen (1999).


Recent & Ongoing Campaigns
Pfizer gives up forced swim tests on animals after PETA campaign.

European Pharmaceutical Manufacturer | November 1, 2019

Pharma giant Pfizer has announced it will stop the practice of forced swim tests, following a year-long campaign by PETA.

NYC: Advocates to Protest Pfizer over Third Shortage of Key Syphilis Medication in a year.

Business Wire | May 18, 2017

This is the drug giant’s third shortage or stock out in less than one year of Bicillin L-A, Pfizer’s key syphilis drug; pregnant women with syphilis remain at particular risk of passing infection on to their newborns unless Bicillin L-A is available for treatment

Major Investigations
& Lawsuits
FDA investigating five allergic reactions after taking Pfizer Covid vaccine.

Michael Erman | Reuters | December 18, 2020

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating around five allergic reactions that happened after people were administered Pfizer Inc and BioNTech SE’s COVID-19 vaccine in the United States this week, a top FDA official said late on Friday.

Pfizer faces DOJ, SEC foreign bribery probes for China, Russia operations.

Angus Liu | Fierce Pharma | November 9, 2020

Big Pharma's operations abroad are a common punching bag for U.S. anti-corruption watchdogs, which have snared a series of high-profile settlements in recent years. Now, Pfizer will take its turn under those watchdogs' withering eyes for its business in Russia and China. 

Pfizer fined for oversized price hike.

Kevin McCoy | USA Today | December 8, 2016

A British regulator on Wednesday hit U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer with a record $106 million fine for imposing a 2600% price hike on an anti-epilepsy medication, the latest episode in widening public controversy over prescription drug prices.

A.G. Schneiderman Announces Settlement With Pfizer To End Deceptive Advertising Practices And Off-label Promotion Of Immunosuppressive Drug Rapamune

New York State Office of the Attorney General | August 6, 2014

Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman today announced that he, along with 40 other state Attorneys General and the District of Columbia, reached a $35 million settlement with Pfizer arising from alleged improper marketing and promotion of the immunosuppressive drug Rapamune.

Pfizer to pay $325 million in Neurontin settlement

Jonathan Stempel | Reuters | June 2, 2014

Pfizer Inc has agreed to pay $325 million to resolve claims it defrauded insurers and other healthcare benefit providers by marketing Neurontin for unapproved uses, its second settlement over the epilepsy drug in six weeks.

Pfizer to Pay $14.5 Million for Illegal Marketing of Drug Detrol

U.S. Department of Justice | October 21, 2011

American pharmaceutical company Pfizer Inc. has agreed to pay $14.5 million to resolve False Claims Act allegations related to its marketing of the drug Detrol, the Justice Department announced today.

Judge okays up to $215-million settlement in heart valve lawsuit

Tampa Bay Times | Oct. 11, 2005

A federal judge has approved the settlement of a class-action lawsuit in which the makers of an allegedly defective artificial heart valve agreed to pay up to $215-million in damages.


Employment Practices
Pfizer braces for work stoppage after announcing it will switch the pensions of Irish holdouts

Eric Palmer | Fierce Pharma | February 7, 2019

After five years of negotiations, Pfizer has decided it’s time to move employees at plants in Ireland to the same pension plans that the rest of the company’s employees have. That decision comes despite the threat of a work stoppage.

Pfizer workers protest against unfair labour practice

Herald, Voice of Goa | July 16, 2015

Workers of Pfizer Pharmaceutical situated at Verna Industrial Estate held a demonstration on Wednesday morning in front of the Labour Commissioner’s office in Panjim to protest unfair labour practices followed by the company. They requested the Labour Commissioner to resolve the dispute immediately.


Corporate Headquarters
235 E 42ND ST, NEW YORK NY 10017
Most Recent Gross Revenue
$51.75 billion (2019) | source
Most Recent Net Revenue
$16.237 billion | source
Stock Exchange Tickers

Note: Most recent list is not always the most complete list.

Croctail Subsidiary Tool using the CorpWatch API - This API uses automated parsers to extract the subsidiary relationship information from Exhibit 21 of companies' 10-K filings with the SEC.

Major Shareholders

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Political Influence Profile of Pfizer

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Subsidy Tracker
Subsidy Tracker
Subsidy Tracker is a project of Good Jobs First in Washington DC. It is the most comprehensive source of data on state and federal subsidies in the United States. For more details, click on the links.
Click here for details of subsidies received by Pfizer
Tax Havens
& Evasion
Pfizer uses Netherlands to shield billions in profits from tax

Samantha Dixon | Dutch Review | May 12, 2021

Pfizer has become a household name in the past year and is generating a nice chunk of money as a result — even more, considering the company is avoiding paying millions in tax.

Pfizer makes billions during the pandemic while paying low taxes – leading macroeconomic influencers

Pharmaceutical Technology | February 4, 2021

Economists believe that the global pandemic has proven that investments in public services pay off. Therefore, it is time to introduce excess profits taxes, increase taxes on profitable corporations such as Pfizer Canada, close tax loopholes, and increase the affordability of medicines for people.

Pfizer: Price Gouger, Tax Dodger

William Rice | Americans for Tax Fairness | February 2016

Pfizer, one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies and more profitable companies, is attempting to permanently dodge tens of billions of dollars of U.S. taxes it currently owes through a merger with fellow drug firm Allergan, based in the tax haven of Ireland.

Pfizer dodging $35B in taxes

Kevin McCoy | USA Today | February 25, 2016

U.S. pharmaceutical giant Pfizer (PFE) is trying to dodge an estimated $35 billion in taxes by merging with Ireland-based rival Allergan and shifting its headquarters overseas, a coalition of labor and consumer groups charged Thursday.


Federal Contractor Misconduct Database
Pfizer FCMD Profile
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