June 11, 2010 / 9:59 PM / 9 years ago

UPDATE 1-U.S. panel probes marketing of Wyeth transplant drug

* Committee investigating Rapamune promotion

* Panel probing if Wyeth pitched unapproved uses

* Lawmaker also asks if company targeted black patients

WASHINGTON, June 11 (Reuters) - A U.S. House of Representatives committee is investigating reports that drugmaker Wyeth, now a unit of Pfizer Inc (PFE.N), promoted a transplant drug to blacks for unapproved uses, the panel’s chairman said on Friday.

The House Oversight and Government Reform Committee is probing if Wyeth encouraged Rapamune use for patients with heart, lung, liver, pancreas and islet cell transplants without FDA approval, according to a statement from Democratic Chairman Edolphus Towns. The drug is approved for preventing rejection of transplanted kidneys.

The committee also is looking into whether Wyeth specifically targeted black patients with its promotions, the statement said.

In a letter to Pfizer Chief Executive Jeffrey Kindler, Towns asked the company to provide internal documents including reports detailing Rapamune’s side effects. Pfizer acquired Wyeth in October 2009.

Pfizer officials could not immediately be reached for comment.

The letter to Pfizer was posted here 536870913 1986356269 (Reporting by Lisa Richwine; editing by Carol Bishopric)

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