Pfizer denies knowledge of acquired companies' failures in East German drug trials

As Bloomberg reports, Germany's Der Spiegel has ferreted more details about drug research in Soviet-era East Germany, where pharma groups tied to some of the biggest names in the industry reportedly benefited from cheap clinical trials before the fall of the Berlin Wall.

The German publication has uncovered evidence of the Western pharma companies funding research of more than 600 drugs in trials that involved more than 50,000 patients, including premature infants and alcoholics. Bloomberg reported that some of the companies involved in trials have since become part of the pharma powerhouses Bayer, Pfizer ($PFE) and Roche ($RHHBY).

"Pfizer is not aware of any information indicating the activities of any companies operating in the former GDR that were subsequently acquired by Pfizer failed to comply with the legal requirements or applicable international standards at that time," the U.S. drug giant said in a statement, as quoted by Bloomberg. Roche and Bayer did not reply to the news service's requests for statements, yet Bayer has made a claim similar to Pfizer's in the German press, that none of its businesses broke rules.

Yet drugmakers aren't off the hook. The German government plans to seek the companies' cooperation in an investigation of the drug studies, and the probe could have ramifications, including recalls, for drugs approved based on the data from those GDR trials.

- check out Bloomberg's article