Big Pharma Regularly Breaks the Law

prescription-drugs

In looking into a few things regarding this measles outbreak I was turned onto this paper published in 2012 and it is pure gold. Guess what,? big pharma regularly breaks the law and pretty much gets away with it. Professor Peter C. Gøtzsche, MD, DrMedSci, MSc found ten serious cases between 2007 and 2012 of fraudulent and/or criminal activity by the largest pharmaceutical makers in the world. In all ten of these cases the pharmaceutical companies were either found guilty or admitted to wrongdoing in a court of law in the US. The most common offense was off-label marketing of drugs, that is marketing a drug for a treatment it was not tested or approved for by the FDA.

In 2011 GlaxoSmithKline PLEADED GUILTY to having marketed a number of drugs illegally for off-label use. The company paid kickbacks to doctors, failed to include safety data to the FDA, and sponsored programs suggesting cardiovascular benefits from Avandia despite warnings on the FDA approved label regarding cardiovascular risks. They agreed to pay $3 Billion dollars in the settlement, the largest healthcare fraud settlement in US history. A lot of these settlements, including the one with GSK, include allegations and/or admission of defrauding Medicaid and Medicare. Read through these, they are terribly eye opening. A quote included in this paper by the author was made by a former global VP of marketing for Pfizer turned whistle-blower compares the similarities between the pharmaceutical industry and the mob, from making obscene amounts of money to bribing politicians and all with a side effect of killings and death.

I point this out, not because we are anti-medicine or even anti-drug we do believe there can be a time and place where drug therapy is needed and even essential.  I point this out because all too often people who speak up on big pharma being this “evil industry” get shouted down as conspiracy theorists or plain ole nut jobs. In reality there is significant evidence, like this paper as simple as it is, that shows big pharma can do as much bad as it can good. If you or I were to defraud the government  the way they have, we would be in jail. Big pharma gets away with it because they do offer some good to society and what is 3 Billion dollars when you have 25.6 billion dollars in revenue. Don’t completely distrust the pharmaceutical industry but question everything they say and do and every product they peddle.

 

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Posted in Healthcare Policy and Politics

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