But what wasn't clear at the time is that the Pfizer's expert, Milton Packer, wasn't actually licensed - everywhere he said he is licensed - when he gave his October testimony, according to court documents (look at page 20) and the Texas Medical Board web site (click on Public Verification and then type in his name). His temporary faculty license expired on July 16, and he applied for a practicing license last May 29, according to the the state board. In other words, licensing was pending at the time of his testimony, while his resume - which was submitted to the court - states he is, in fact, licensed in New York and Texas.
The plaintiffs attorneys jumped on this, and not only because they continue to fight Pfizer over a raft of lawsuits in federal court in San Francisco. Packer is also lined up as an expert in state court in New York, where the drugmaker is fighting the same battle over Celebrex lawsuits. The New York Superior Court judge, Shirley Kornreich, in fact, attended last month's hearing in federal court.
"It is stunning that Dr. Packer holds himself out to the world, and the courts, as fully licensed in Texas when, at an earlier date, all he held was a temporary license," according to a filed brief in state court in New York by the plaintiffs. "However, he failed to note this temporary status on his CV (resume) and instead, embellished it to a full license. Further, once the license expired and could not be renewed, Dr. Packer should have apprised the court. Certainly, re-submitting the same false CV at the time of written direct testimony, when the license was already expired, raises real concerns about the candor of this witness. What else has he embellished?"
Granted, Packer does have impressive credentials and may well be qualified to decide such matters as whether Celebrex causes heart attacks. But the sequence of events, at least as outlined in court documents, opens him up to this kind of questioning. So far, Packer has not responded to phone and e-mail messages. A Pfizer spokesman indicated yesterday a reply would be forthcoming; we will update you with any responses we receive. UPDATE: A Pfizer spokesman sends us this: "Dr. Packer is a licensed cardiologist and authority on the subjects of drug safety and clinical research." (Presumably, Pfizer is referring to New York, but there's no reference, as you can see, to the issues with Texas licensing).