(NaturalNews) Pharmaceutical companies have racked up over $11 billion in fines over the last three years for many cases of criminal misconduct. Twenty-six pharmaceutical companies around the world, including eight of the ten largest companies, have been charged and fined for various criminal behaviors, including withholding safety data for new drug approval applications and promoting drug uses beyond the conditions they have been approved to treat.
According to two papers published in the New England Journal of Medicine, public and professional trust is being eroded by the regular criminal wrongdoings of the pharmaceutical industry, and lawyers have warned that the fines are not sufficient to change the criminal behavior of the industry.
The largest fine of $3 billion was paid by Glaxosmithkline (GSK) in 2012 after they were found guilty of withholding safety data, marketing drugs for unauthorized uses and cheating the US government's Medicaid system in the largest case of healthcare fraud ever. GSK marketed their antidepressant drug Paxil as being suitable for children under the age of 18 when it was approved for adult use only, distributed a fraudulent medical journal article and convinced doctors to prescribe more of their drugs by lavishing them with gifts such as meals and spa treatments.
Other companies have received fines ranging from $420 million to a massive $2.3 billion, but a lawyer at Boston University has pointed out that, although the fines are huge, when compared to the massive profits that these companies are making, they amount to only a small percentage of total revenue. The fact is that the drug companies consider the fines to be a cost of doing business, and when the fines are paid, the government that allows this criminal behavior to continue benefits by recouping a portion of industry profits.
Meanwhile, pharmaceutical associations are trying to work out how to resolve the problems. With so much criminal wrongdoing, the doctors whose role it is to prescribe these companies' products are now finding that their trust has been broken. Many physicians report that they are now dismissing industry-funded clinical trials and research. Due to the regular scandals, patients are also realizing that the industry can't be trusted, contributing, no doubt, to the rise in interest in natural medicines.
About the author: Sue Woledge is a natural therapist, writer and owner of Organic Newz and Creating A Toxin Free Future Sue is an advocate for natural health and responsible living and is passionate about REAL food, safe products, life-long learning, natural health, the environment and natural medicines. Sue believes that living as naturally as possible and eating a diet consisting of natural, unprocessed foods is key to good health, as is reducing exposures to synthetic and toxic chemicals. Books written by Sue Woledge are available here.
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