Pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline, makers of the antidepressants Paxil, Wellbutrin, Avandia, have officially agreed to pay billions in fines for unlawful promotion of several of their drugs currently on the market. The fines are the result of the efforts of several of the company's employees who came forward about the unlawful practices.
During the late 1990s to the mid-2000s, four of the drug company's high ranking employees offered information to the federal government under the federal whistle-blower law about suspected inappropriate practices conducted by the pharmaceutical drug manufacturer. Federal prosecutors began investigating the allegations against GlaxoSmithKline and uncovered several illegal marketing practices.
Specifically, the anti-depressant Paxil was found illegally marketed to children when in fact the drug allegedly is known to increase the risk of suicide in teens. Wellbutrin, also approved as an anti-depressant, was found marketed as a weight loss drug and to treat sexual dysfunction.
Additionally, heart attacks were linked to the diabetes drug Avandia in 2010, but the company failed to report the data to consumers.
In a recent statement, the pharmaceutical giant said it has since changed many of its policies. In addition to the $3 billion in fines, GlaxoSmithKline has also agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges relating to the violations.
Source: The New York Times, Glaxo Agrees to Pay $3 Billion in Fraud Settlement, Katie Thomas and Michael S. Schmidt, July 2, 2012