Stop Drugs Killing People for Profits!

It’s been a torrid couple of years for the drugs companies. For example, there was the Vioxx scandal, where an estimated 47,000 people lost their lives thanks to a drug; then in certain American states ‘polypharmacy’ (taking a cocktail of legally prescribed medicines) actually topped the ‘Cause of death’ charts above cancer and heart disease; next there was the revelation that in the New York Presbyterian Hospital 28 per cent of hospital admissions concerned older people falling ill from their drug cocktails; this comes hot on the heels of a seven-fold increase in deaths from taking cocktails of prescribed medicines with high profile stars like Heath Ledger and Michael Jackson included; then there was the report from the Poison Control Centers about the high levels of deaths from prescribed medicines (but interestingly none from taking vitamins or herbs) and recently we have had the $3 billion payment by Glaxo Smith Klein for various fraudulent practices, where the lawmakers attention was drawn by ‘whistleblowers’ who used to work for the company. Next up it could be Merck facing a similar scenario.

 Phew!

But do we have figures on deaths from Polypharmacy in the UK and Europe? Or large fines for similar fraudulent practices by drugs companies in the UK and Europe? Indeed, do we have the same level of vigilance? Surely these ‘dodgy’ practices, and levels of illnesses caused by drugs cannot be confined to America?

But there’s a bigger point: When do the pharmaceutical companies start putting people before profits and rather dubious and fraudulent practices? When do we get more responsible commentary – homeopathy is criticised by UK Skeptics in articles because as one claimed… “it wastes 4 million pounds that could be spent on safe and proven drugs”. Er…. Safe, by whose standards? Not the standards of Vioxx or Thalidomide, or even those of the thousands of people falling ill and dying from cocktails of drugs that have never been tested in such combinations with each other, surely?

While 10 billion dollars have been paid by drugs companies in ‘fines’ in the USA in recent years, nothing has yet happened in a similar vein in Europe or the UK. But we all use the same ‘safe and proven’ drugs.

 Avaaz is the world’s largest and most effective online campaigning community for change and they have launched a petition to try and establish some of the American controls in the UK and Europe. Read more, and sign the petition at:  https://secure.avaaz.org/en/petition/Stop_Drug_Companies_Killing_for_Profits/?aqvhhab

 As George Bernard Shaw said, ‘Everyone complains about the weather but nobody does anything about it.’ Now’s the time to look at drugs and pharmaceutical company practices in Europe and do something about it!

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Largest Pharmaceutical Misconduct Settlement in US History as GSK Fined Over $ 3 Billion
Pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline will pay $3 billion and plead guilty to federal charges to resolve a slew of criminal and civil issues stemming from its use of kickbacks, misbranding and other misconduct to market drugs such as Paxil, Wellbutrin and Advair, the U.S. government announced.

The agreement is the largest health care fraud settlement in US history according to the Justice Department. It’s also the largest payment ever by a drug company. The settlement is “unprecedented in both size and scope,” said James M. Cole, deputy attorney general, in a statement.

“Today brings to resolution difficult, long-standing matters for GSK,” said Chief Executive Sir Andrew Witty in a statement. “Whilst these originate in a different era for the company, they cannot and will not be ignored. On behalf of GSK, I want to express our regret and reiterate that we have learnt from the mistakes that were made.”

GSK apparently promoted drugs for previously unapproved uses, including advertising Paxil for children, no matter that the antidepressant had not be approved for anyone under the age of 18.

Matt Kozar on ABC News said that GSK was “marketing the medicines for off-label uses in order to boost profits” for the company. The company also failed to report some safety problems with the diabetes drug, Avandia, including the fact it “sharply increased the risk of heart attacks and congestive heart failure” in some patients. Since 2007, the FDA has added warnings to Avandia label to alert doctors to these risks. GSK even sponsored dinners and spa programs in the drug’s name, prosecutors said.

Glaxo also used sham advisory boards and speakers at lavish resorts to promote depression drug Wellbutrin as an option for weight loss and a remedy for sexual dysfunction and substance addiction, according to the government. Customers were urged to use higher-than-approved dosages, the government added.

The health care giant was also accused by prosecutors of advertising off-label uses for asthma drug Advair, seizure medication Lamictal and nausea treatment Zofran while also making false claims about the safety and usefulness of such drugs.

The government also accused Glaxo of offering kickbacks to medical professionals, dangling cash, trips to Florida, and tickets to basketball games as incentives to promote and prescribe its drugs.

Glaxo also submitted incorrect prices for its products to the government, allowing it to underpay rebates owed to programs such as Medicaid, prosecutors said.

The company will plead guilty to three federal criminal charges, two of them for introducing misbranded Paxil and Wellbutrin drugs and one for not reporting safety data about the cardiovascular effects of diabetes drug Avandia to the Food and Drug Administration.

Two whistleblowers (Thomas Gerahty, a former senior marketing development manager and Matthew Burke, a former regional Vice President) provided the government with overwhelming evidence that was at the heart of the government’s case against GlaxoSmithKline.

Gerahty, Burke and Phillips & Cohen, who represented them, worked closely with the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Boston and the Justice Department after filing their “qui tam” (whistleblower) case in early 2003 in Boston’s federal district court.

Gerahty and Burke gave the government new and detailed information about Glaxo’s nationwide improper marketing practices, including the use of financial inducements to doctors to prescribe Glaxo’s

Damages and civil penalties will account for $2 billion, while $1 billion is a criminal fine.

 

Sources: Washington Post, Natural News, Bloomberg and others

For an update on the blatant bribery and other dodgy actions of Glaxo in an exclusive interview with one of the ‘whistleblowers’ visit http://www.naturalnews.com/036499_Glaxo_whistleblower_bribery.html

 

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