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Healthy Skepticism Library item: 19156

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: Journal Article

Tanne JH
US drug companies paid $15bn in fines for fraudulent marketing in past five years
BMJ 2010 Dec 21; 341:
http://www.bmj.com/content/341/bmj.c7360.short?rss=1


Abstract:

Illegal marketing activities by drug companies have risen over the past five years, leading to major penalties when companies forced to settle with the federal and state governments, says Public Citizen, an independent US watchdog organisation. It has called the drug industry “the biggest defrauder of the federal government.”

Although reports of drug companies’ misdeeds have been reported before, Public Citizen’s new report summarises the situation.

Industry spokespeople said that the problems were behind them and that the industry had put stricter guidelines in place.

Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s health research group, told the BMJ that in the past five years the drug industry moved ahead of the defence industry and all other industry sectors in the amount of civil penalties for fraud under the False Claims Act against the federal government. The report said that of 165 drug company settlements comprising $19.8bn (£12.8bn; €15bn) in penalties over the past 20 years, 73% …

 

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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