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[e-drug] Glaxo to pay $3 bn for largest health care fraud in US (5)

E-DRUG: Glaxo to pay $3 bn for largest health care fraud in US (5)

Dear All

I don't understand how Morris concludes that Glaxo's response and
cooperation should be praised.  Glaxo withheld critical drug safety
information from drug regulators, misleading the regulators, doctors, and
patients and ultimately putting patients at risk.  In addition, it
ruthlessly promoted its medicines for off-label use, again imposing grave
health threats on adolescents and other patients.  Moreover, Glaxo did not
provide incriminating information willingly - it was subject to a criminal
and civil investigation from US officials.  A cover-up would have landed
it in even hotter water.  Glaxo's "response", fundamentally, was to have
been forced to disgorge tainted profits and to admit its civil and
criminal liability.  Although governments and payers will be reimbursed,
this sanction does not directly redress the harms that patients suffered.

So, Morris' main point that drug regulators need greater power and
international forms of cooperation to deal with illegal drug promotion and
non-disclosure of important clinical information is exactly correct.
Company after company has paid after-the-fact fines for all to real harms
done to regulators, insurers, and patients.  Some have suggested that real
deterrence won't happen until some pharmaceutical executives start going
to jail.  Moreover, fines are not currently big enough - the fines
shouldn't just recoup tainted profits, they should go at the bottom line -
in other words be truly punitive instead of merely remedial.  Similarly,
other countries should adopt procedures that allow their governments and
payers to similar impose fines and impose other penalties.  I hope others
on this list can lengthen and strengthen this preliminary list of

Professor Brook K. Baker

Health GAP (Global Access Project)
Northeastern U. School of Law
Program on Human Rights and the Global Economy
400 Huntington Ave.
Boston, MA 02115 USA
Honorary Research Fellow, University of KwaZulu Natal, Durban, S. Africa
(w) 617-373-3217
(cell) 617-259-0760
(fax) 617-373-5056

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