Paxil, Wellbutrin Fraud
The Pharmaceutical drug giant, GlaxoSmithKline pleaded guilty to criminal charges and was ordered to pay $3 billion to settle the largest case of healthcare fraud in U.S. history in 2012.
GSK targeted the antidepressant, Paxil, to patients under age 18 when it was approved for adults only. It pushed the drug, Wellbutrin, for uses it was not approved for, like weight loss and treatment of sexual dysfunction.
The company went to extreme lengths to promote the drugs, such as distributing a misleading medical journal article and providing doctors with meals and spa treatments that amounted to illegal kickbacks.
Drug companies have to resort to these unethical and illegal means because their ant-depressant drugs do not work well and actually make the brain biochemistry worse over time.
For natural alternatives to these drugs refer to:
GSK also failed to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration safety data about its diabetes drug, Avandia, in violation of U.S. law.
The fraud started in the late 1990s and continued through 2007.
Guilty pleas in cases of alleged corporate misconduct are exceedingly rare, making GSK’s agreement especially unusual. The agreement to settle the charges “is unprecedented in both size and scope,” said James Cole, the No. 2 official at the U.S. Justice Department. He called the action “historic” and “a clear warning to any company that chooses to break the law.” The settlement includes $1 billion in criminal fines and $2 billion in civil fines. GSK said in a statement it would pay the fines through existing cash resources.
The GSK settlement surpasses what had been the largest criminal case involving a drugmaker in U.S. history. In 2009, Pfizer Inc agreed to pay $2.3 billion to settle allegations it improperly marketed 13 drugs.
Because of the rising cost of providing drugs through government programs. U.S. authorities have been cracking down on how pharmaceuticals are sold.
From 1994 to 2003, GSK underpaid money owed to Medicaid, the healthcare program for the poor run jointly by states and the federal government. The company had an obligation to tell the government its “best prices” but failed to do so. $300 million of the settlement will go to states and other public health authorities.
Prosecutors have not brought criminal charges against any individuals in connection with the GSK case, although the settlement expressly leaves open that possibility.
Almost exactly a year ago GSK agreed to pay nearly $41 million to 37 states and the District of Columbia in an unrelated case about substandard manufacturing processes at a Puerto Rico factory.