Glaxo To Fork Over $3 Billion Settlement, Plead To Criminal Charges


Posted on 4th July 2012 by gjohnson in Uncategorized

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It’s a record-breaking settlement against a pharmaceutical company: GlaxoSmith Kline will pay a whopping $3 billion in fines and plead guilty to criminal charges for illegally marketing several drugs and withholding safety data on a diabetes medication.

The news, which made headlines across the nation, was announced Monday by federal prosecutors. The charges involved the marketing anti-depressant drugs such as Paxil and Wellbutrin for unapproved uses, and failing to report safety data for the diabetes drug Avandia.

The preliminary terms of the settlement were first made public in November.

The settlements breaks down into $1 billion in criminal fines and $2 billion for civil liabilities.

The whole case falls under the federal so-called “whistle-blower” law, according to The New York Times. Four GlaxoSmithKline workers, a group that included a marketing development manager and a regional vice president, went to the government to report a number of illegal practices, The Times reported.

For example, the drug maker promoted the use of Paxil for children, even though antidepressants can increase the risk of suicide for teens. GlaxoSmithKline also marketed Wellbutrin for weight loss and sexual dysfunction, when it only had Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval to prescribe for depression, according to The Times.

For Avandia, which has been tied to heart problems, the drug maker withheld data from studies that provided evidence of its risks, The Times reported.