Just a few days ago I wrote about the pharmaceutical company AstraZeneca. They agreed to pay $520 million to settle a federal civil lawsuit in which the company was accused of illegally promoting its antipsychotic drug quetiapine, marketed under the brand name Seroquel, for unapproved indications.
Yesterday, GlaxoSmithKline pleaded guilty to misdemeanor criminal charges. They agreed to pay $3 billion to settle what government officials on Monday described as “the largest case of healthcare fraud in U.S. history”.
What had happened?
“GSK targeted the antidepressant Paxil to patients under age 18 when it was approved for adults only, and it pushed the drug Wellbutrin for uses it was not approved for, including weight loss and treatment of sexual dysfunction, according to an investigation led by the U.S. Justice Department.
The company went to extreme lengths to promote the drugs, such as distributing a misleading medical journal article and providing doctors with meals and spa treatments that amounted to illegal kickbacks, prosecutors said.
In a third instance, GSK failed to give the U.S. Food and Drug Administration safety data about its diabetes drug Avandia, in violation of U.S. law, prosecutors said.
The misconduct continued for years beginning in the late 1990s and continued, in the case of Avandia’s safety data, through 2007.”
–– Source: finance.yahoo.com
People at GlaxoSmithKline made these decisions. They knew what they were doing. They decided to actively poison tens of thousands of people with drugs that were not approved for their condition – including children. And we’re we are not talking about vitamin-C pills, we’re talking about drugs that seriously affect the neurotransmitter systems in your brain, causing severe side effects in some patients.
I don’t understand how it is possible that no one goes to jail for that. Who cares if the company has to pay billions in compensation? As long as there are no consequences for the people who made the decisions, nothing will ever change.