Skepticism about science and medicine

In search of disinterested science

Crime pays — if you are a drug company

Posted by Henry Bauer on 2014/03/13

In Crimes of the Drug Industry I listed 11 evils perpetrated routinely by the mainstream pharmaceutical industry (“Big Pharma”).

In the text of that blog post, I also pointed out that “companies regard the fines as a small part of the costs of doing business and they continue their illegal tactics”. Peter Gøtzsche (Deadly Medicines and Organised Crime, Radcliffe, 2013) suggests a solution like the Danish treatment of tax evasion:  penalties three times what the miscreant illegally got away with.

How huge the profits are that all the big drug companies make, predominantly through illegal marketing for off-label use, are demonstrated as they find fines of billions of dollars to be trivial compared to the profits from their illegality. During just the last 5 years, they have paid fines of up to $3 billion dollars — $3,000,000,000 — without admitting guilt or changing their behavior; see Big Pharma’s Big Fines.

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