Bad news for pharma today, which took a battering in the press following news of GSK being fined $3bn in what is being described as the largest case of healthcare fraud in US history.
The case surrounds 10 drugs, and focussed on the off label promotion and marketing of a number of drugs including, Paxil, Wellbutrin and Advair. GSK has pleaded guilty to promoting unapproved uses including paediatric use (Paxil) and for alternative treatments such as weight loss (Wellbutrin), and for reporting some incorrect safety information and failing to report other safety data to the FDA on Avandia.
The length of time that the incorrect safety reporting for Avandia went of for is significant, apparently stemming from late in the 1990s through to 2007.
The approach to marketing for some of these products does not enforce faith in GSK or the industry with accusations of significant physician kickbacks. GSK allegedly used approaches to push the drugs including using misleading medical journal articles, providing doctors with extremely expensive meals, spa treatments and other entertainment such as luxury vacations and gig tickets.
On the flip side, I'm interested to find out what, if anything happens to the doctors who accepted these kickbacks.