It’s a Start


Glaxo Agrees to Pay $3 Billion in Fraud Settlement

By KATIE THOMAS and MICHAEL S. SCHMIDT
Published: July 2, 2012
 

The British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay $3 billion in fines for illegally promoting the antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin and for failing to report safety data about the diabetes drug Avandia, federal prosecutors announced Monday.

The settlement marks the largest payment ever by a drug company, eclipsing the previous record of $2.3 billion set by Pfizer in 2009, the government said.

“Today’s multibillion-dollar settlement is unprecedented in both size and scope,” said James M. Cole, the deputy attorney general. “It underscores the administration’s firm commitment to protecting the American people and holding accountable those who commit health care fraud.”

The initial terms of the settlement were announced in November, and GlaxoSmithKline had already set aside cash for the settlement. In a statement Monday, the company said it has since changed its compliance and marketing procedures

Andrew Witty, the chief executive, sought to portray the illegal actions as part of the company’s past.

“Whilst these originate in a different era for the company, they cannot and will not be ignored,” he said in the statement. “On behalf of GSK, I want to express our regret and reiterate that we have learnt from the mistakes that were made.”

Two of the three misdemeanor criminal charges relate to the company’s promotion of Paxil and Wellbutrin.

Prosecutors said the company paid doctors to attend conferences and other meetings to promote uses for the drugs that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration. The company illegally promoted the use of Paxil in children and, in the case of Wellbutrin, marketed it for weight loss and sexual dysfunction when it was approved only to treat major depressive disorder.

The third criminal charge involves Avandia, a diabetes drug whose use was severely restricted in 2010 after it was linked to heart risks. Prosecutors said the company failed to report those risks to the F.D.A.

 

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About annecwoodlen

I am a tenth generation American, descended from a family that has been working a farm that was deeded to us by William Penn. The country has changed around us but we have held true. I stand in my grandmother’s kitchen, look down the valley to her brother’s farm and see my great-great-great-great-great-grandmother Hannah standing on the porch. She is holding the baby, surrounded by four other children, and saying goodbye to her husband and oldest son who are going off to fight in the Revolutionary War. The war is twenty miles away and her husband will die fighting. We are not the Daughters of the American Revolution; we were its mothers. My father, Milton C. Woodlen, got his doctorate from Temple University in the 1940’s when—in his words—“a doctorate still meant something.” He became an education professor at West Chester State Teachers College, where my mother, Elizabeth Hope Copeland, had graduated. My mother raised four girls and one boy, of which I am the middle child. My parents are deceased and my siblings are estranged. My fiancé, Robert H. Dobrow, was a fighter pilot in the Marine Corps. In 1974, his plane crashed, his parachute did not open, and we buried him in a cemetery on Long Island. I could say a great deal about him, or nothing; there is no middle ground. I have loved other men; Bob was my soul mate. The single greatest determinate of who I am and what my life has been is that I inherited my father’s gene for bipolar disorder, type II. Associated with all bipolar disorders is executive dysfunction, a learning disability that interferes with the ability to sort and organize. Despite an I.Q. of 139, I failed twelve subjects and got expelled from high school and prep school. I attended Syracuse University and Onondaga Community College and got an associate’s degree after twenty-five years. I am nothing if not tenacious. Gifted with intelligence, constrained by disability, and compromised by depression, my employment was limited to entry level jobs. Being female in the 1960’s meant that I did office work—billing at the university library, calling out telegrams at Western Union, and filing papers at a law firm. During one decade, I worked at about a hundred different places as a temporary secretary. I worked for hospitals, banks, manufacturers and others, including the county government. I quit the District Attorney’s Office to manage a gas station; it was more honest work. After Bob’s death, I started taking antidepressants. Following doctor’s orders, I took them every day for twenty-six years. During that time, I attempted%2
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