Drug Company Settlement Highlights Industry's Dangerous Practices

Last week, GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay $3 billion to settle several lawsuits over how it creates and markets drugs. It’s not as if anybody needed any more evidence that Big Pharma is an industry desperately in need of watch-dogging, but, from the Reuters report, here's the money quote: "… payments would be funded through existing cash resources." Who except Lindsay Lohan has $3 billion lying around to pay off their bad behavior?

The settlement relates to several cases filed by the U.S. government, including those related to Avandia, Glaxo’s diabetes drug that has been linked to heart risks; how the company exploited Medicaid to boost drug sales profits; and allegations that Glaxo persuaded doctors to prescribe drugs for uses not approved by the FDA (a practice known as off-label marketing).

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