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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 18940

Warning: This library includes all items relevant to health product marketing that we are aware of regardless of quality. Often we do not agree with all or part of the contents.


Publication type: Electronic Source

Johnson C
Drug Industry Settlements In 2010 Largest Ever Under False Claims Act
Shots: NPR Health Blog 2010 Nov 22

Full text:

The Justice Department has collected a whopping $3 billion in settlements this year with help from whistleblowers and a powerful law known as the False Claims Act, Assistant Attorney General Tony West announced this morning.

And guess where $2.5 billion of that $3 billion came from? Big Pharma.

This year’s biggest hauls under the False Claims Act include $669 million of the record-shattering $2.3 billion total the government took from Pfizer over its improper promotion of the painkiller Bextra, $302 million from Astra Zeneca over the anti-psychotic drug Seroquel, and $192 million from Novartis.

West told reporters the Civil War era law had become “one of our most successful civil enforcement tools,” allowing the Justice Department to recover “money that otherwise would have padded the bank accounts of defendants who sought profit over quality.”

And he vowed that the Obama administration would do more to go after individual executives who had green-lighted frauds against the federal government by seeking to bring civil and criminal charges that could put them out of business and in some cases, into federal prison.

“We’re going to hold both companies and individuals accountable,” West said.

Justice Department officials say the 2010 health care recovery is the largest in history, and the total recovery is the second largest, up from some $2.4 billion last year. Altogether, they’ve taken in $5.4 billion since January 2009 under the Act.

Congress recently strengthened the law and expanded the ability of whistleblowers to recover money if they alert the Securities and Exchange Commission to financial fraud.

That, West said, could be one of the next fronts in a battle against fraud that’s been intensifying rapidly.


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Far too large a section of the treatment of disease is to-day controlled by the big manufacturing pharmacists, who have enslaved us in a plausible pseudo-science...
The blind faith which some men have in medicines illustrates too often the greatest of all human capacities - the capacity for self deception...
Some one will say, Is this all your science has to tell us? Is this the outcome of decades of good clinical work, of patient study of the disease, of anxious trial in such good faith of so many drugs? Give us back the childlike trust of the fathers in antimony and in the lancet rather than this cold nihilism. Not at all! Let us accept the truth, however unpleasant it may be, and with the death rate staring us in the face, let us not be deceived with vain fancies...
we need a stern, iconoclastic spirit which leads, not to nihilism, but to an active skepticism - not the passive skepticism, born of despair, but the active skepticism born of a knowledge that recognizes its limitations and knows full well that only in this attitude of mind can true progress be made.
- William Osler 1909