Once again, drug giants are being reminded that the government and the public sort of frown upon pharmaceutical companies doing things like bribing doctors with lavish vacations to get them to prescribe a drug to their patients. And illegally promoting a drug and/or knowingly withholding information about dangerous side effects? Yeah, that’s not okay, either. If previous lawsuits against companies like Pfizer and Eli Lilly didn’t get that point across, the recent settlement with GlaxoSmithKline to the tune of $3 billion just might.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is the largest of the pharmaceutical giants, and has just made the largest settlement of healthcare fraud is U.S.history. The $3 billion settlement included $1 billion for criminal fraud and $2 billion for civil liabilities, to which the company has agreed to plead guilty.
According to ValueWalk, the lawsuit against GSK alleged the that the drug Paxil was illegally promoted to patients under the age of 18, that GSK published and distributed content in medical journals that grossly misrepresented the drug’s efficacy, that the company sponsored doctors with lavish, expensive gifts and parties to promote the prescription of the drug Wellbutrin, and that they failed to quote safety data on the drug Avandia, which included elevated risk of heart failure.
“Today brings to resolution difficult, long-standing matters for GSK,” said the CEO of GSK, Andrew Witty. “On behalf of GSK, I want to express our regret and reiterate that we have learnt from the mistakes that were made.”
For more details on how exactly the company is changing its marketing and sales policies and to watch a disgraceful clip of how the company’s drug reps were once encouraged to push drugs, watch this video from MSNBC. The words “Who wants to be a millionaire?” are actually used.