It’s not a done deal yet, but that may just be paperwork at this point because everyone seems to acknowledge that GlaxoSmithKline has settled its claims with the federal government to the tune of $3 billion, which beats the old record of $2.3 billion paid by Pfizer back in 2009 in settlement with the feds for violating the law in marketing some of its drugs for uses other than what was instructed on their labels.
GlaxoSmithKline will be paying $3,000,000,000 to the government to settle a bunch of claims of illegal activity: Medicaid reimbursement hijinks; promoting its drugs for off-label uses; and some strange things in particular about its cash cow drug, Avandia, which was said to help people suffering with diabetes but was revealed by medical researchers to be connected to an almost 50% increase in the chance of a heart attack and an even higher risk of dying from heart problems.
Key: Mayo Clinic investigations revealed that almost every single scientist (90%) who published papers that supported the use of Avandia in humans had financial connections with GlaxoSmithKline. (For more details on Avandia issues, please refer to our earlier post).
The Biggest Drug Company Settlement In History Isn’t High Enough
Billions of dollars in settlement sounds like a serious deal, a financial hit that should make the drug company think twice about doing things like this in the future. GlaxoSmithKline has this cash on hand, and has already informed its shareholders that the settlement will be paid by cash in the bank.
That’s right: GSK has $3 billion setting around to pay the U.S. Department of Justice when the paperwork is signed, no surprise when GlaxoSmithKline is reported to have a market value in excess of $110,000,000,000.00.
So who really won here?
Many will argue the drug company did. The lesson learned: drugs are products manufactured and marketed for profit in this country just like cars and boats and smartphones and coffeemakers. Americans cannot blindly trust that the products that they bring into their homes are safe to use or consume.
If you or a loved one has reason to think that you may have been harmed by a drug or drug-related product, then it is important to get medical help first and legal help as well. That’s what products liability law does – and maybe, in the future, an American jury will explain to big drug companies that putting profits over people is just plain wrong.