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Doctors and Patients Lose Trust As Drug Companies Are Fined over $11 Billion for Criminal Wrongdoing

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Pharmaceutical companies have racked up over $11 billion in fines over the last three years for many cases of criminal misconduct. Twenty-six pharmaceutical companies around the world, including eight of the ten largest companies, have been charged and fined for various criminal behaviors, including withholding safety data for new drug approval applications and promoting drug uses beyond the conditions they have been approved to treat.

According to two papers published in the New England Journal of Medicine, public and professional trust is being eroded by the regular criminal wrongdoings of the pharmaceutical industry, and lawyers have warned that the fines are not sufficient to change the criminal behavior of the industry.

The largest fine of $3 billion was paid by Glaxosmithkline (GSK) in 2012 after they were found guilty of withholding safety data, marketing drugs for unauthorized uses and cheating the US government's Medicaid system in the largest case of healthcare fraud ever. GSK marketed their antidepressant drug Paxil as being suitable for children under the age of 18 when it was approved for adult use only, distributed a fraudulent medical journal article and convinced doctors to prescribe more of their drugs by lavishing them with gifts such as meals and spa treatments.  


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