Originally published September 20 2011
Drug company CEOs targeted in government crackdown of illegal marketing
by PF Louis
(NaturalNews) Pharmaceutical companies are often prosecuted for off label marketing. Off label marketing is a form of fraud where the company pushes a drug with higher doses than the FDA permits, for a purpose not approved, or to a group for whom it is not allowed.
If the government successfully prosecutes an offending pharmaceutical company for off label marketing, the government is obliged to ban that company from future sales to government medical agencies, such as Medicare, Medicaid, or The Veterans Administration (VA).
That's a lot of lost business, which can result in either a collapse of that company or some serious downsizing. What happens if a transgressing company is too big to fail and another is not?
Pfizer and Forest Labs
Everyone knows the name Pfizer. They were prosecuted successfully in late 2009 for aggressive off label marketing and other violations. The Department of Justice (DOJ) prosecuted and collected the largest sum of criminal civil claims ever from a pharmaceutical company, $2.2 billion.
Considering the billions Pfizer made over the years of aggressive illicit marketing, this was chump change. But what about the loss of revenue while being banned from drug or medical equipment sales to government agencies?
Pfizer called on a shell company to take the fall. Pharmacia, a shell company listed as a Pfizer subsidiary, was used for that purpose in 2007, and in 2009 Pharmacia took the fall again. Both times, this arrangement was allowed because Pfizer is "too big to nail." (NN and CNN sources below)
In 2010, when a smaller company, Forest Laboratories, got prosecuted for similar offenses, they settled with the DOJ for $313 million. Then earlier in 2011, the CEO, 83 year old Howard Solomon was told to vacate his position or the company would not be allowed to sell drugs and medical devices to government groups. Evidently, Forest Labs is not too big to nail.
Many business news analysts objected, but mostly about government meddling with firing the CEO of a private company. But CEO and other management level executives should be held responsible. Imagine if vaccine injury claims could be directed at Big Pharma executives directly!
Punish a corporation, but leave those who were calling the shots alone is the way the corporate legal structure was set up. It's a bad idea. All Big Pharma corporate executives should be prosecuted individually and jailed or kicked out after being fined if found guilty.
Unfortunately, what pulls Big Pharma out of serious trouble is the foolishly accepted propaganda that we need them to be healthy. That makes them too big to fail or nail while they make lots of money poisoning us.
NN Pfizer too big to nail ... http://www.naturalnews.com/029537_Pfizer_fra...
NN on Big Pharma's marketing and profits over health http://www.naturalnews.com/020345_drug_marke...
CNN Report on Pfizer's deal http://edition.cnn.com/2010/HEALTH/04/02/pfi...
Good overview of Solomon/ Forest Labs case http://www.minyanville.com/businessmarkets/a...
DOJ report on the Forest Labs case http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2010/September...
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