Drug maker GlaxoSmithKline (Glaxo) will pay a record $3 Billion criminal fraud settlement with the government as a result of its deceptive sales practices. The criminal charges accused Glaxo of practices which pushed dangerous medications on the American public. According to the news, the State of Alabama will receive almost $6 Million of the proceeds.

Several billion dollars sounds like a lot of money. But, Glaxo sold over $40 Billion in drugs, last year alone. The company has been making billions each year using dishonest and deceptive practices to push its drugs on the public.

Legal journalist Larry Bodine has a great post on Glaxo’s deceptive practices to market its dangerous drugs. It’s a great read. Glaxo’s fine involved its practices related to:

  1. Avandia – For years, Glaxo sold this diabetes drug to the public while it lied to the Food & Drug Administration FDA about the safety of the drug. I have written previously about the dangers of this drug and the harm it caused the public.
  2. Wellbutrin – This Glaxo drug was approved to treat only major depressive disorder. Yet, Glaxo paid huge sums to doctors to speak at meetings (often at luxury resorts) where the drug was promoted for other non-approved uses.
  3. Paxil – Glaxo promoted this drug to treat depression in children although the FDA had never approved this use.

Just to put this in perspective, Glaxo paid $6 Billion in fines for criminal activities, including those activities related to these 3 drugs. Yet, Glaxo’s sales of Avandia equaled $10.4 Billion, its sales of Paxil were $11.6 Billion, and its sales of Wellbutrin were $5.9 Billion during the time each drug was marketed, according to the New York Times. Simply put, Glaxo paid a drop in the bucket for its bad practices.

Glaxo’s practices are part of a drug industry that has put profits (and billions of them) over consumer safety. Paying doctors to push pills on innocent patients. Hiding research that raises or reveals serious health concerns. Turning the FDA into a protector of drug companies instead of citizens. These practices should be stopped. A slap on the wrist that really does not impact the bottom line is not the answer.

Glaxo is not the only drug maker pushing dangerous drugs or medical devices on the public. Here are a couple other examples where we are representing clients who have suffered severe personal injuries:

  1. Actos – Japanese manufacturer Takeda marketed Actos as a treatment for Type 2 diabetes. It is in the same category of drugs as Glaxo’s Avandia. Actos use has been linked to bladder cancer. In addition, evidence indicates Takeda concealed the risk of bladder cancer and other serious health problems.
  2. Transvaginal Mesh – These products are manufactured by several different companies. They are surgically implanted. The history of how these products were placed on the market without adequate review and testing is very troubling. 

Until the FDA and the medical profession decide that patient safety is more important than corporate protection and profit, we will continue to see innocent patients suffer needless personal injury and death from dangerous drugs.