UK pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline will plead guilty and pay a record breaking $3bn, to settle the largest case of healthcare fraud in US history.
The settlement comes after a probe by the US Justice Department that investigated the company’s marketing practices for nine of its products.
GlaxoSmithKline pleaded guilty to misbranding the drugs Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia. Prosecutors claimed the company had encouraged the use of anti-depressant drug Paxil for children, even though it was not approved by anyone under the age of 18. Wellbutrin was also pushed for uses it was not approved for, including weight loss and sexual dysfunction. GSK failed to report safety data about diabetes drug Avandia to the Food and Drug Administration.
James Cole, Deputy Attorney General, spoke out in support of the criminal charges.
"We are determined to stop practices that jeopardize patient's health, harm taxpayers and violate the public trust."
The settlement amounts to $1bn in criminal fess and a further $2bn in civil fees after the company went to great lengths to promote the drugs, such as providing meals and spa treatments to doctors that prosecutors’ stated amounted to illegal kickbacks. GlaxoSmithKline have agreed to be monitored by US government officials for the next five years.
Written and Presented by Alfred Joyner