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GlaxoSmithKline Admits to Criminal Pharma Fraud in 3 Billion Dollar Case

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British registered company, GlaxoSmithKline, faces $3 billion in penalties after pleading guilty to the biggest health care fraud case in history. GSK admitted that physicians had been bribed to push potentially dangerous drugs in exchange for Madonna tickets, Hawaiian holidays, cash and lucrative speaking tours. They also admitted distributing misleading information regarding the antidepressant Paxil. The report claimed that it was suitable for children, but failed to acknowledge data from studies proving its ineffectiveness in children and adolescents.

GSK faced charges that they had used the gifts to sell three drugs that were either unsafe, or used for purposes that were not approved. The first drug, Paxil also known as Seroxat, was touted as safe and effective for children and adolescents. The ineffectiveness of Paxil, and the link to suicides, meant that it was banned for kids under 18-years-olds in 2008.

The second drug, Avandia was used in Britain to treat diabetes until it was withdrawn due to safety fears, including increased risk of heart attacks. The US government claimed that GSK had attempted to conceal the data surrounding the dangers.

The third drug, Wellbrutin is used in the UK for treating depression, but it was alleged that GSK had recommended physicians used it for ADHD, lost libido and as a slimming aid. None of which were approved uses for the drug.


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