Pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline is to pay the equivalent of 2.3 billion euros in the largest healthcare fraud settlement in US history.
Pending court approval, the agreement should resolve allegations that the British drugmaker broke US laws in the marketing and development of three of its major drugs.
US Acting Assistant Attorney-General Stuart F Delery told reporters: “Health care fraud is an epidemic that touches every aspect of our lives. And yet, for far too long, we’ve heard that the pharmaceutical industry views these settlements merely as the cost of doing business. That is why this administration is committed to using every available tool to defeat health care fraud.”
The company has already admitted promoting two drugs for unapproved usage while in the case of a third, its diabetes drug Avandia, it failed to reveal health risks.
“Anywhere between 50,000 and 100,000 diabetics had unnecessary, unneeded heart attacks or death due to drug Avandia. This drug hurt a lot of people,” claimed cardiologist Doctor Steve Nissen from Cleveland Clinic.
GSK is also to be monitored for five years after being found guilty of misleading marketing and paying kickbacks to doctors.
The company’s current CEO said the misconduct originated in a different era of the company and would not be tolerated today.