The British drug company GlaxoSmithKline said Thursday that it had agreed to pay $3 billion to settle United States government civil and criminal investigations into its sales practices for numerous drugs.
The settlement would be the largest yet in a wave of federal cases against pharmaceutical companies accused of illegal marketing, surpassing the previous record of $2.3 billion paid by Pfizer in 2009. In recent years, drug companies have been prime targets of federal fraud investigations, which have recovered tens of billions of dollars for Medicaid and Medicare.
The cases against GlaxoSmithKline include illegal marketing of Avandia, a diabetes drug that was severely restricted last year after it was linked to heart risks. Federal prosecutors said the company had paid doctors and manipulated medical research to promote the drug…I keep forgetting about the “high standards” of our medical professionals.
The agreement to settle its biggest federal cases should be completed next year, the company added in the statement. It said $3 billion would settle not only the Avandia case, but also a Justice Department investigation of its Medicaid pricing practices and a nationwide investigation led by the United States attorneys in Colorado and Massachusetts into the sales and marketing of nine of its drugs from 1997 to 2004…
Critics of the settlements made with drug companies argued for stiffer penalties, including prison sentences for corporate officials…How about prison sentences for Congress-thugs who enabled a lot of the fraud?
Patrick Burns, spokesman for Taxpayers Against Fraud, an advocacy group for whistle-blowers, said, “Who at Glaxo is going to jail as a part of this settlement? Who in management is being excluded from doing future business with the U.S. government..?”
Mr. Burns said the health care sector accounted for more than 80 percent of the $4 billion in overpayments recovered by the government in 2010 as a result of whistle-blower lawsuits and resulting fraud investigations by federal and state agencies.
But, don’t worry. The Republicans in Congress just ran a bill through the House to remove jury trials from whistleblower lawsuits. They feel safer relying on judges.
Perish the thought we should have a system of laws and sanctions which involves ordinary Americans who might not understand about treating really important corporations with the proper respect.