The Washington Post briefly published on Thursday a story about Pfizer and drug pricing that was based on a false press release produced by an unknown person or group. That story has been retracted.
The press release was circulated using an email address that appeared to belong to a real Pfizer spokesman, but used the domain pfizerinternational.com, a fake website that closely mimics Pfizer’s. That website, which also hosted the press release, has since been taken down. A Post reporter called the false phone number provided for the spokesman before the story was published and heard a message saying the company would not be answering questions about the press release and left a voicemail.
Pfizer spokesman Andrew Topen said that the company is investigating who is behind the fake website. Ownership details for the site are hidden in publicly available databases.
Pfizer released a statement Thursday afternoon: “A false press release related to drug pricing and linking to a fake web site was anonymously issued earlier today. It was erroneously attributed to Pfizer and should be disregarded. Pfizer is investigating this matter and evaluating its legal options against the parties responsible. Pfizer is committed to engaging in an honest discussion and real dialogue about the issues that matter to patients.”