naturalnews.com printable article

Originally published January 21 2010

Johnson & Johnson engaged in elaborate drug profit kickback scheme, says Dept. of Justice lawsuit

by Mike Adams, the Health Ranger, NaturalNews Editor

(NaturalNews) Drug maker Johnson & Johnson paid tens of millions of dollars in kickbacks to nursing home pharmacies in order to boost the sale of its drugs, says a Justice Department lawsuit.

The payments were often disguised as grants or "educational funding," says the lawsuit, and they were directed to Omnicare, a prominent nursing home pharmacy company.

The elaborate kickback scheme caused sales of Johnson & Johnson drugs to skyrocket. Sales of the antipsychotic drug Risperdal, for example, helped J&J drug purchases from Omnicare nearly triple from $100 million to $280 million a year.

An email released by the Justice Department shows an Omnicare executive writing:

"WE ARE SELLING MORE HIGH PRICED DRUGS (read Risperdal here) FOR THE PHARMACEUTICAL INDUSTRY!!"

Omnicare is already steeped in other accusations of fraud. The company agreed to pay the U.S. government $98 million in a settlement reached a few months ago (while admitting no guilt, of course). (http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2009/11/03/ev...)

Drugging the seniors

Today's nursing home patients are often treated much like prisoners, mentally shackled with chemical restraints known as pharmaceuticals. The mass-drugging of senior citizens in nursing homes has now reached criminal proportions. Rather than actually treating patients in ways that make them healthy, nursing home staff in some facilities have discovered it's much easier to just drug patients into a zombie-like state where they don't ask questions or cause trouble.

Johnson & Johnson medications are used as part of this "chemical restraint" recipe, which is actually a form of chemical abuse of senior citizens. J&J and Omnicare, of course, are far more concerned with selling medications than actually improving the quality of life for nursing home patients, so the more drugs are sold and consumed, the more "success" these companies think they have.

But what's the cost in human lives? What is the real human impact of drugging our senior citizens to the point where they're barely human?

Companies like Johnson & Johnson only seem to care about their own profits. They appear to have no compassion whatsoever for the lives of the people impacted by their patented chemical pharmaceuticals. They also appear to have no respect for the law: Bribing Omnicare with kickbacks, if proven by the Justice Department, is a felony crime.

But as usually happens in these cases, Johnson & Johnson will probably get off with a slap on the wrist: An affordable fine and a bit of bad press. Then, like most other pharmaceutical companies, they'll likely go right back to violating the law in order to sell more high-profit medications. Why? Because it works.

Pharmaceutical companies rarely face any real consequences for their crimes, even when they're caught red-handed. It's a curious thing, really. In any other industry, companies engaged in such blatant fraud would be shut down, their CEOs arrested and prosecuted in federal court. But when it comes to Big Pharma, all they have to do is pay a small fine, after which they're free to continue committing crimes.

It's nice to see the Justice Department finally going after these corporate crooks. Just last year, Pfizer was hit with a record $1 billion settlement with the Justice Department for engaging in fraudulent drug advertising. (http://www.naturalnews.com/027276_Pfizer_dru...)

It was a rare victory, however. Most of the time, drug companies get away with their crimes and face no real consequences for bribery, corruption, marketing fraud, scientific fraud, intimidation of scientists or elaborate financial kickback schemes that put extra dollars into the hands of doctors or pharmacies that push their drugs.

The pharmaceutical industry, in case you haven't noticed, is a criminal world where those who commit the boldest and most egregious crimes generate the highest profits. The risk of getting caught is so low -- and the financial rewards for committing crimes are so great -- that drug companies fully realize it pays to break the law.

That's why they'll keep breaking the law until something changes. As I've said before, I think it's time the Justice Department marched into the offices of these drug companies with pistols drawn and arrested the top CEOs for their crimes against humanity. Only by showing these drug companies that their executives are going to be prosecuted for their crimes can we hope to put an end to the criminal activities that have now become routine across the pharmaceutical industry.

Sources for this story include:
http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content...





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