Breaking News; Health Fraud – GSK To Pay $3 Billion Settlement

GlaxoSmithKline, the maker of Ondansetron, the drug now implicated in causation of fatal Cardiac Arrhythmia, is to pay $3 billion dollars in Civil and Criminal penalties after agreeing to plead guilty to one of the biggest health frauds in the US.

In a deal with the US federal prosecutors over the marketing of paroxetine HCL (Paxil), bupropion (Wellbutrin), and other drugs and for failing to report safety problems with rosiglitazone (Avandia), the company having agreed to plead guilty is to pay $3 Billion. This was announced today Monday 2nd July by the US government. The initial terms of the agreement was first made public in 2011.

In a press release, Bill Corr, Deputy Secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services said “Today’s historic settlement is a major milestone in our efforts to stamp out health care fraud.” He said further “For a long time, our healthcare system had been a target for cheaters who thought they could make an easy profit at the expense of public safety, taxpayers, and the millions of Americans who depend on programs like Medicare and Medicaid. But thanks to strong enforcement actions like those we have announced today, that equation is rapidly changing.”

The charges to which GSK plead guilty include withholding vital information on drugs safety, willfully giving false information, paying kickbacks to doctors to promote drugs even when such drugs have potential harmful side effect, sponsoring paper presentations to favor products when in reality the research proved otherwise and promoting the use of some drugs in the age group when such drugs have been known to have serious consequences in such age groups.

For details of the specific fraudulent practices, please follow this link.

One wonders how such frauds could have managed to escape the eyes of the relevant agencies in the US for so long before they were discovered.

If this could happen in the US, what hope do we have in the developing countries where we go cap in hand begging these big drug companies to donate free drugs to us.

Is there any hope for us in the developing world?
Do we have agencies in place to check the abuses by these big drug companies?
If we do, how vulnerable are they to being compromised?

What can we in developing countries do to prevent such things as these in our land?


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1 comment for “Breaking News; Health Fraud – GSK To Pay $3 Billion Settlement

  1. July 2, 2012 at 10:10 pm

    Incredible. Perhaps Pfizer may also have been guilty with their experiment on that meningitis drug in Nkthern Nigeria.

    This calls to mind Hutchinson’s famous saying; “For too zeal for the new, and disdain for the old; good lord deliver us!”

    We all must as a rule be drug vigilant. And we shouldn’t just dismiss all the side effects patients complain of. We don’t understand these drugs as we sometimes imagine we do!

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