The US Department of Justice (DOJ) announced on July 2, 2012, that British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) will pay $3 billion in fines in the largest settlement involving a pharmaceutical company. GSK will plead guilty to marketing drugs for unapproved uses and failing to report drug safety information to the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The drugmaker will pay a fine of $1 billion for the criminal charges, while the other $2 billion will go toward a civil settlement involving the sales and marketing of GSK’s other drugs.
The three drugs at the center of the controversy were:
- Paxil — GSK illegally marketed the antidepressant for treating depression in children despite it not being approved for patients under the age of 18. The FDA later discovered that more patients taking Paxil had attempted suicide or thought about it than those receiving placebo pills.
- Wellbutrin — While the FDA had approved the drug only to treat depression, GSK provided kickbacks to doctors to prescribe Wellbutrin for attention deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), drug addiction, sexual dysfunction and weight loss.
- Avandia — GSK failed to report data to the FDA that the diabetes drug increased heart risks in patients.
This is an astonishing case that demonstrates a number of problems with dangerous drugs. While the DOJ claims these prosecutions bring back $15 for every $1 it spends, is this record fine really going to create a meaningful change in the way big pharmaceutical companies conduct their business? We will further discuss that on Friday, but if you or a loved one has suffered because of being prescribed a dangerous drug, contact our firm today to see how out Orlando personal injury attorneys may be able to help.
Wooten Kimbrough, P.A. – Orlando personal injury lawyers