Thursday, July 5, 2012

GlaxoSmithKline Guilty Of Fraud

GlaxoSmithKline, one of the worlds largest healthcare and pharmaceuticals companies has agreed to pay 3 billion dollars in the largest healthcare fraud settlement in US history. The drug giant will be to pleading  guilty to promoting two drugs for unapproved uses and failing to report safety data about a diabetes drug to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The settlement will cover criminal fines as well as civil settlements with the federal and state governments. The case concerns 10 drugs, including Paxil, Wellbutrin, Avandia and Advair. The settlement was "unprecedented in both size and scope" said Deputy US Attorney General James Cole. My question is, where is the jail time?

GSK, has admitted it promoted antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin for unapproved uses, including treatment of children and adolescents, this illegal practice is known as off-label marketing. The company also conceded charges that it held back data and made unsupported safety claims over its diabetes drug Avandia. It agreed to resolve civil liability for promoting asthma drug Advair and two lesser-known drugs for unapproved uses. In addition, GSK has been found guilty of paying kickbacks to doctors. It appears the sales force bribed physicians to prescribe GSK products using every imaginable form of incentive, from Hawaiian vacations, paying doctors millions of dollars to go on speaking tours, and distributing tickets to Madonna concerts.

As part of the settlement, GSK has agreed to be monitored by government officials for five years. GSK said in a statement it would pay the fines through existing cash resources. Andrew Witty, the firm's chief executive, said procedures for compliance, marketing and selling had been changed at GSK's US unit. "We have learnt from the mistakes that were made," Mr Witty said. "When necessary, we have removed employees who have engaged in misconduct" was another comment he made. This is all just fine, but again I ask, where is the jail time? This is no small deal, this company broke the law, and through fraud took "billions of dollars" from the American people, insurance companies, and the government. Why are those responsible not on the way to jail ?

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