In the burgeoning age of pharmaceutical sales, large corporations are making billions in profit, but some are also paying out billions in drug lawsuit settlements. As long as drug manufacturing giants are producing medications for profit, they will continue to face legal claims. Anyone who has suffered from significant complications after taking a prescribed drug owes it to themselves to file a free case review and determine their best course of legal action.
The Largest Settlements to Date
Three major pharmaceutical companies have paid a total of almost $8 billion in the largest drug lawsuit settlements, most of which stem from unscrupulous business tactics.
GlaxoSmithKline (GSK): $3 Billion – The makers of Paxil, Wellbutrin and Zofran paid $3 billion in 2012 after pleading guilty to criminal charges for illegally promoting many antidepressants, misreporting trial data, and paying kickbacks to doctors who prescribed their drugs. The New York Times reports that GSK tried to win over doctors with paid getaways to Bermuda and Jamaica, spa treatments, and hunting trips. Prosecutors in the case also alleged that the company helped publish an article in a medical journal that reported inaccurate data from a clinical trial with the aim of promoting Paxil use in children.
Pfizer: $2.3 Billion – In 2009, Pfizer paid more than $2 billion to settle allegations that they not only planned and schemed to market four different drugs illegally, but in doing so, defrauded different government health care programs. By marketing drugs for medical conditions for which they had not been approved, the company “caused false claims to be submitted to government health care programs for uses that were not medically accepted indications and therefore not covered by those programs,” according to the Department of Justice. The settlement also served to resolve accusations that the drug manufacturer paid kickbacks to providers so they would prescribe their drugs.
Johnson & Johnson: $2.2 Billion – Johnson & Johnson and subsidiaries shelled out more than $2 billion in 2012 for promoting Risperdal to health care providers to treat conditions other than schizophrenia, its only intended and approved use. Janssen, a Johnson & Johnson subsidiary, was accused of illegally marketing the drug to “the most vulnerable patients: elderly nursing home residents, children and individuals with mental disabilities,” according to the Department of Justice. Janssen was also accused of providing incentives for sales representatives who promoted the drug for off-label use by basing their bonuses on total Risperdal sales, regardless of whether it was being prescribed for FDA-approved use.
Holding Drug Companies Accountable
Although $8 billion is an unimaginable amount of money to most people, GSK’s drug lawsuit settlement was a mere fraction of the nearly $27 billion they made on three of the drugs they marketed illegally during the years covered in the settlement. Drug companies have a moral responsibility to patients who trust them to help with serious medical conditions, so they should be held accountable when they forego that responsibility in favor of larger profits. If you or anyone you know has suffered serious complications from prescription drugs, file a free case review now. An experienced attorney will review the details of your case and help determine your best course of legal action.