The Legal Examiner Mark The Legal Examiner Mark The Legal Examiner Mark search twitter facebook feed linkedin instagram google-plus avvo phone envelope checkmark mail-reply spinner error close
Skip to main content

For America’s pharmaceutical companies, committing fraud has become an established way of life. Practices like off-label marketing and price inflation are not only rampant, they bring in millions, sometimes billions of dollars in profit—more than enough incentive for these corporations to justify their continuation despite whatever piddly sum the U.S. government fines them for their wrongdoings.

This week, Senator Bernie Sanders of Vermont proposed instituting tough new penalties that will actually make a difference in combating pharmaceutical industry fraud. His amendment to a FDA bill currently before the Senate would revoke a company’s exclusive marketing rights if the company is found guilty of fraud involving a particular drug.

The top-12 pharmaceutical companies made $49.1 billion in profits in 2011, with Pfizer making $10 billion and Johnson and Johnson making $9.7 billion. “The penalties these companies pay when they are caught and prosecuted simply aren’t big enough to stop them from being repeat offenders,” Sanders said.

The senator described “a culture of fraud” that he said permeates the pharmaceutical industry. Over the past decade, virtually all of the major private pharmaceutical companies were involved in significant health care fraud. “The question arises, is fraud within the pharmaceutical industry the exception, or is it, simply put, their business model?” –

The examples of pharmaceutical companies committing fraud really do go on and on. Merck committed fraud when it entered into a conspiracy with hospitals to give elderly patients cheaper drugs but charge them for the expensive ones they’d been prescribed by their doctors. Abbott Labs deliberately charged more than 10 times the actual cost of their drugs in order to boost Medicare/Medicaid reimbursements. Merck illegally marketed Vioxx for rheumatoid arthritis before this use was approved. Pfizer defrauded Medicaid by overcharging for the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor. Johnson & Johnson illegally marketed the anti-psychotic Risperdal to nursing home patients. In each case, the penalties paid by the companies amounted to a tiny percentage of their profits from the drugs.

Sanders’ proposal would help put a stop to the madness. “Companies that are fined for overcharging Medicare or Medicaid, or for dangerous illegal marketing practices, should not enjoy government-granted monopolies on those same medications,” Sanders said. –

He’s absolutely right there.


  1. Gravatar for Daniel Haszard

    A patient speaks:

    There are two kinds of antipsychotics the 50 year old tried and tested inexpensive *typical* antipsychotics like Thorazine,and the newer so-called *atypicals* like Risperdal,Seroquel,Zyprexa.

    These drugs are lifesavers for those with delusional mental illness which is only 1 percent of the population.

    The saga of the so called *atypical antipsychotics* is one of incredible profit.Eli Lilly made $65 BILLION on Zyprexa franchise (*Viva Zyprexa* Lilly sales rep slogan).

    Described as *the most successful drug in the history of neuroscience* the drugs at $12 pill are used by states to medicate deinstitutionalized mental patients to keep them out of the $500-$1,200 day hospitals.

    There is a whole underclass block of our society,including children in foster care that are the market for these drugs,but have little voice of protest if harmed by them.I am an exception,I got diabetes from Zyprexa as an off-label treatment for PTSD and I am not a mentally challenged victim so I post.

    Google-Haszard Zyprexa

    --Daniel Haszard

  2. Gravatar for Greg

    They cure alright, they cure the symptoms but never a cause and they are always in bed with the FDA, i say we stop giving these greedy money hungry punks in suits our cash and put them into private research labs and companies to start "curing" things now. And while we are at it we should stop voting for those nimrod politicians on the left and right; they like the FDA are in the back pocket of Pharma. And we should start a movement to warn old people who are the most hoplessly addicted of anyone to medication that "if you want to live longer demand CURES, LOWER COST, LESS DRUGS and money to be spent on private research," they get swindled the most for sure and thats not right. One of the only reasons Pharma hasn't really cured anything since polio is because they got (smart) they make more on prolonging sufferage by treating and masking symptoms and not the direct causes. I'm hopefull for a new geniration of medicine.


    Gene Therapy:

    Stem Cells:

    Smart Vaccines:

    And no more bad or toxic drugs that make you crave more and more just to make yo fell better.



  3. Gravatar for Vern Dennis

    I quite agree. Now if you were only as indignant about the fraud perpetuated by many personal injury attorneys ...

Comments are closed.

Of Interest