Major pharmaceutical company, GlaxoSmithKline, has agreed to a $3 billion settlement on charges of healthcare fraud, one of the largest cases of healthcare fraud in U.S. history. With rising drug costs for programs paid for by government programs, companies like GSK have been put on notice – violation of the law in any form will not be tolerated.
Diabetes and Mental Health Drugs Issues Lead to Criminal Behaviors
Paxil and Avandia are the two primary drugs the lead to charges against Glaxo being filed. The British drug manufacturer encouraged the prescription of Paxil, an antidepressant medication, to children under the age of 18, despite not having FDA approval for this use. Additionally, Wellbutrin, another antidepressant medication manufactured by GSK, was promoted for use as a weight loss and sexual dysfunction treatment, again without FDA approval for these uses. Advantia, developed to treat diabetes, was approved by the Federal Drug Administration through manipulation and misrepresentation of safety data submitted to the government agency.
The methods used by Glaxo to promote these drugs and to gain and maintain FDA approval is unprecedented for a pharmaceutical company so far. GSK submitted misleading medical journal articles to leading medical publications. Additionally, they provided kickbacks to doctors who frequently prescribed these medications, in the form of expensive luxury spa treatments and lavish meals.
Glaxo is not the only company to be found guilty of misconduct when it comes to improperly promoting medications. In 2009, Pfizer agreed to a $2.3 billion settlement agreement amid allegations it has inappropriately marketed 13 different drugs. Even with all the criminal behavior, pharmaceutical companies continue to rake in profits, with Paxil and Wellbutrin continuing to be among top selling antidepressant medications prescribed in the United States.
– The Alternative Daily