Big Pharma is Accused of Putting Profits Before Safety
By John Cooper, Norfolk Dangerous Drugs Attorney
The amount of money made by the big pharmaceutical companies every year is staggering. I never cease to be amazed by their lack of morality and their dire track record of putting dollars above patient safety time after time.
As well as the countless mass tort actions that are brought by those who have been harmed by drugs and devices, big pharma, the nickname for the world's vast and influential pharmaceutical industry, has faced fines from regulators and criminal actions.
For instance, Merck faces a federal lawsuit for alleged vaccine fraud, reported Health Impact News. It’s related to claims it falsified data about its mumps vaccine. Two former Merck scientists filed a whistleblower lawsuit. The scientists say Merck won’t answer a key question about how effective the product is, according to court documents.
In 2012, British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline admitted criminal charges and agreed to pay $3 billion in fines for promoting antidepressants for unapproved uses and failing to report safety data about a top diabetes drug.
The fine concerned the drugs Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia. The big fine came in the year that Abbott Laboratories settled a case for $1.6 billion over the marketing of Depakote, an anti-seizure drug, reported the New York Times.
Pfizer, has been sued by pharmacy retailers for what is alleged as an "overarching anticompetitive scheme" to keep cheaper, generic cholesterol drugs off the market, boosting its already inflated profits. Fines against big drug companies are nothing now but appear to have risen in recent years.
Drug Companies Face Mass Tort Lawsuits
While big payouts to the feds make headlines, the large drug companies are also facing thousands of lawsuits from those who have been hurt by their drugs and the families of those who have lost loved ones.
Johnson & Johnson, for example, faces lawsuits over Ripserdal, which is linked to breast growth in boys, and talcum powder, which is linked to ovarian cancer in women. The company’s defective artificial hips led to a $2.5 billion payout. The company, along with Bayer, manufactures Xarelto, a blood thinner that’s link to hundreds of deaths from uncontrolled bleeding. Last year Johnson & Johnson earned over $4 billion.
A number of big pharmaceutical companies including Ethicon and Bard, manufacture transvaginal mesh, which is the subject of more than 60,000 lawsuits from women who encountered serious complications from the mesh product.
GlaxoSmithKline, the company that was fined $3 billion by the feds, four years ago, is facing multiple lawsuits over Zofran a drug that has been used off label for morning sickness. It’s linked to birth defects in unborn children.
If you or a loved one has been hurt by a dangerous drug, call Cooper Hurley Injury Lawyers at (757) 455-0077 or see our section on dangerous drugs.