Did you see that, at long last, GlaxoSmithKline have got their comeuppance on this long-running issue? They have been fined $3 billion for hiding evidence of drug side effects, bribing doctors and encouraging drugs to be used for conditions they were not licensed for. This is the largest health fraud fine ever.
Although $3 billion sounds like a lot of money, for the time they were fined for, I calculated the company made just short of $30b so I somehow don’t think they will be crying into their tissues, do you?
Three drugs were at the centre of the ruling against GlaxoSmithKline: Avandia, Seroxat (Paxil) and Wellbrutin.
Avandia (rosiglitazone) was prescribed for 100,000 diabetic Britons until it was withdrawn 2 years ago amid safety concerns. I wrote about this here. One expert claimed it caused an extra 1,000 heart attacks in the UK every year. The US government claims GSK tried to conceal the dangers of Avandia from watchdogs.
Seroxat (Paxil) is an antidepressant prescribed to millions of Britons every year. It was also given routinely to children until a ban in 2003 over concerns it triggers suicides. Officials say GSK wrongly encouraged doctors to give it to children when it had not been approved for children & had not been shown to be effective.
In the UK Wellbrutin (zyban) pills are used for depression but in US they were sold as slimming pills and for lost libido and ADHD – even though they had never been approved for these uses.
Read the story in the Guardian below.