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Thursday 20 August 2020

Dishonesty, Corruption and Fraud in the Pharmaceutical Industry. It's been going on for years

Would you consider buying a second-hand car from these pharmaceutical drug companies? 

If not, why are we still accepting their drugs and vaccines?

If you believe that the pharmaceutical industry is honest enterprise, placing the best interests of its patients at the heart of its business, it is time you looked closely at the history of dishonesty, corruption and fraud it has been found guilty of during the last 20+ years.

Over this time pharmaceutical companies have been subject to a succession criminal cases, court rulings, and the imposition of heavy fines and compensation payments to victims of their drugs and vaccines. Many of these emanate in the USA, but all the drugs mentioned have a world-wide distribution. This is a just brief summary of some of the bigger, recent cases.

Pardue Pharma. 2007
Purdue Pharma was fined $634.5 million for fraudulently selling the painkilling drug, Oxycontin, suggesting it was less addictive, and less likely to be abused than other painkillers. The company was also charged with using misleading sales tactics, minimizing the risks of the drug, and promoting it for uses for which it was not approved.

Bristol-Myers Squibb. 2007
Bristol-Myers Squibb were fined $515 for illegally promoting its antipsychotic drug, Abilify, to children and older people, despite a 'black box' warning about possible fatal side effects. The company was also fined for giving payments, and offering expensive presents and vacations to doctors and pharmacists who dispensed the drugs.

Eli Lilly. January 2009
Eli Lilly was fined $1.42 billion following government investigation into its promotion of the antipsychotic drug, Zyprexa. Zyprexa had been approved for the treatment of certain psychotic disorders, but Lilly admitted to promoting the drug to older people to treat dementia. The government also proved that Eli Lilly had targeted primary care physicians to promote Zyprexa for unapproved uses, and had trained a sales force specifically to disregard the law. They were also found to have failed to divulge important side effect information. Zyprexa was marketed as a sleeping aid for older people because one of its side effects is sedation, even though the drug also increased the risk of death!

Pfizer. September 2009
The drug company, Pfizer, was fined $2.3 billion, at the time the largest health care fraud settlement, and the largest criminal fine ever imposed in the USA. Pfizer pleaded guilty to misbranding the painkilling drug, Bextra, with the intent to mislead and defraud, and promoting the drug to treat acute pain at dosages the drug regulator, the FDA, had previously deemed dangerous. In 2005 Bextra was banned due to safety concerns. It was also found that Pfizer had promoted three other drugs illegally, the antipsychotic Geodon, an antibiotic Zyvox, and the anti-epileptic drug, Lyrica.

AstraZenica. April 2010
AstraZeneca was fined $520 million following allegations that it llegally promoted the antipsychotic drug, Seroquel. The drug was approved for treating schizophrenia and bipolar mania, but AstraZeneca had promoted Seroquel for a variety of unapproved uses, such as weight loss, aggression, sleeplessness, ADHD, anxiety, post-traumatic stress, depression, and dementia. AstraZeneca denied the charges, but nonetheless agreed to pay the fine to end the government investigation! During the hearings it was found that the company promoted the drug for weight loss by highlighting one favourable study but burying others that linked it to substantial weight gain!

GlaxoSmithKiline and the Food and Drug Administration (FDA), 2010
In February 2010, the USA Senate Finance Committee, in a 334 page report, found that the diabetes drug Avandia was linked with tens of thousands of heart attacks, and that the drug company, GlaxoSmithKline had known about this for many years but kept them from the public. The report also criticised the FDA. It found that although members of staff expressed concerns, the drug regulator (sic) connived with the drug company to 'overlook' and 'overrode'  patient safety concerns.

Bristol-Wyers Squibb. 2010
This story has been taken from the magazine 'What Doctors Don't Tell You", May 2019, in an article "Institutes face $1 billion lawsuit for wartime experiment, indicating the dishonesty and fraud is not a recent development as far as the pharmaceutical industry is concerned.

         "John Hopkins University, the drug giant Bristol-Myers Squibb and the Rockafeller Foundation face a £1 billion lawsuite for their part in a US government experiment that infected hundreds of Guatamalans with syphilis in the 1940's. The experiment was set up to text the newly developed drug penicillin as a therapy against sexually transmitted diseases. It remained secret until 2010.... since when the three institutions have been fighting legal action... The complaint cites that several John Hopkins and Rockefeller Foundation doctors were involved in the experiement, along with four executives from Bristol Laboratories and the Squuibb Institute... John Hopking University has apologised for its involvement in the experiment, but the Rockefeller Foundation .... denies any wrongoiding. The drug company has refused to comment".

Merck. November 2011
The drug company, Merck, was involved in a huge scandal over its dangerous painkilling drug, Vioxx. It was fined for selling the drug to treat rheumatoid arthritis, for which it had not been tested, over decade earlier. Indeed, they were found to have illegally promoted Vioxx for three years, even after they were reprimanded for doing so in September 2001 by the USA drug regulator, the Food and Drug Administration. In the following year, Merck was fined a further $321 million in Boston, USA.

GlaxoSmithKline. 2011
In December 2011, GSK were ordered to pay $3 billion "to settle United States government civil and criminal investigations into its sales practices for numerous drugs". This involved a variety of illegal activities, including illegally marketing drugs, paying off doctors to promote dangerous drugs, and manipulating scientific data to get dangerous drugs approved.

GlaxoSmithKline, January 2012
In January 2012, in Argentina, GSK was fined 400,00 pesos when 14 babies died in an illegal vaccine trial. It was stated that the doctors took advantage of the many illiterate parents who took their children for treatment by pressuring and forcing them into signing 28-page consent forms, and getting them involved in the trials. In Europe and the USA laboratories are not allowed to conduct such experiment, so it was done in third-world countries instead.

Abbott. February 2012
A Colombian court ruled that Abbott Laboratories had overcharged the Ministry of Health for drugs, "maintaining the price of an HIV medicine above the reference price" and "flouting a government order". The court’s decision was described as a groundbreaking condemnation of pricing abuses by pharmaceutical companies".

Abbott. May 2012
Abbott was fined $1.5 billion for its illegal promotion of the antipsychotic drug, Depakote. Abbott admitted it had trained a special sales team to target nursing homes, promoting the drug for the control of aggression and agitation for dementia patients. Depakote had not been approved for this purpose, and Abbott could not demonstrate evidence that the drug was safe or effective for this purpose. The company had also promoted Depakote to treat schizophrenia, again with evidence of its efficacy in treating this condition.

GlaxoSmithKline. July 2012
GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay $3 billion in civil and criminal liabilities following its promotion of several drugs, as well as its failure to report negative safety data, and making unsupported safety claims, in particular for its diabetes drug, Avandia. The company was aware that the drug increased the risk of heart attacks and congestive heart failure, but they withheld this information for seven years! During this time the drug was prescribed to patients, who were unaware that GSK were intentionally putting their lives at risk in order to sell the drug. The company also pleaded guilty to promoting the antidepressant drug, Paxil, for patients under 18 although it had never been approved for that age group. GSK were also found guilty of paying bribes to doctors, with one attorney prosecuting the case saying that the company used every imaginable form of high-priced entertainment and paid millions of dollars in bribes to doctors. One doctor is reported as receiving $275,000 to promote just one GSK drug!

A full account of the dishonesty and fraud perpetrated in this case is contained in the book "Children of the Cure", written by David Healy, Joanna LeNoury and Julie Wood,

AstraZenica. July 2012
A USA federal judge found that AstraZenica had attempted to block the FDA's approval of generic versions of its antipsychotic drug, Seroquel. Its patent had expired in March.

Pfizer. August 2012
Pfizer were forced to pay $60 million after bribing European and Asian health officials to dispense their drugs and vaccines. The fraud involved doctors and public health officials in Bulgaria, China, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Italy, Kazakhstan, Russia and Serbia. When the company realised they might be caught they apparently attempted to hide the illicit transactions by burying them in accounting records as 'business expenses'.

Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals. October 2012
Boehringer Ingelheim Pharmaceuticals agreed to pay $95 million after it had promoted several drugs for non-medically accepted uses. These drugs included the stroke-prevention drug, Aggrenox, the lung disease drugs, Atrovent and Combivent, and also the high blood pressure drug ,Micardis. The FDA said that Boehringer had improperly marketed the drugs and "caused false claims to be submitted to government health care programs."

Sanofi-Aventis. December 2012
Sanofi-Aventis paid a fine of $109 million after it was found that the company gave doctors free units of the drug Hyalgan (an injection to relieve knee pain) to encourage those doctors to buy their product. Sanofi lowered the effective price by promising doctors free samples, although it continued to charge government programmes high prices by submitting false price reports.

Amgen. December 2012
Amgen paid $762 million after criminal and civil charges that the company had illegally introduced and promoted several drugs including the anaemia drug, Aranesp. The company pleaded guilty to illegally selling Aranesp at doses the FDA had explicitly rejected, and for an off-label treatment that did not have FDA approval.

Wyeth. August 2013
Wyeth paid $500,000 when charged with illegal marketing of their immunosupressant drug, Rapamune. One comment made about this case said that "Wyeth's conduct put profits ahead of the health and safety of a highly vulnerable patient population dependent on life-sustaining therapy,"

Johnson and Johnson. November 2013
Johnson & Johnson agreed to pay a $2.2 billion fine following criminal and civil charges relating to three of its drugs, Risperdal, Invega and Natrecor. The drug company had promoted these drugs for uses that had not been approved  by the FDA as safe and effective. They had also spent large sums promoting the drugs to dementia patients in nursing homes, and paid bribes to doctors and pharmacies. Johnson & Johnson also admitted it had promoted Risperdal for the treatment of psychotic symptoms in non-schizophrenic patients, for which the drug was not approved.

Endo Health Solutions. February 2014
Endo Health Solutions, and its subsidiary, Endon Pharmaceuticals, paid $192.7 million to resolve criminal and civil charges arising from Endo's marketing of the drug, Lidoderm. The company admitted that it promoted Lidoderm for uses for which it was unapproved.

Novartis and Roche. March 2014
Italian medical authorities fined two Swiss pharmaceutical companies, Novartis and Roche Holdings, a total of $250 million for colluding to keep doctors from prescribing a relatively inexpensive eye treatment in favour of a more expensive drug.

Takeda and Eli Lilly. March 2014
These two drug companies were fined $9 billion in Louisianna, USA, after they concealed evidence of a link between their diabetes drug, Actos, and bladder cancer. They were subject to thousands of lawsuits after the drug regulator, the FDA, issued a warning in 2011 that the drug might increase the risk of bladder cancer, and the drug companies denied any link. As well as bladder cancer the drug has also been linked to cognitive heart failure.

GlaxoSmithKline. June 2014
GlaxoSmithKline were ordered to pay $105 million to 44 states for providing it sales representatives with financial incentives to make misleading claims and statements to doctors about its drugs Advair, Paxil and Wellbutrin. The company was sued for deceptive trade practices and violations of consumer law.

Johnson and Johnson, Pardue Pharma and the Opioid Scandel (2019)
Opioids were involved in almost 400,000 overdose deaths in the USA between 1999 and 2017. In Oklahoma alone, since 2000, some 6,000 people died from opioid overdose, and many more suffered from dependence and addiction. Earlier in 2019 Oklahoma State had settled with Purdue Pharma ($270m) and Teva Pharmaceutical ($85m), but Johnson & Johnson continued to deny 'wrong-doing'. However in August they were fined $572m (£468m) for its part in fuelling Oklahoma's opioid addiction crisis. The case was the first to go to trial  but there are about 2,000 opiode lawsuits filed against other opioid makers and distributors around the USA.

Johnson & Johnson paid for a marketing campaign that minimised the addictive quality of painkillers, minimised their risks, and promoted their benefits. They were said to be the opioid "kingpin" in an industry-wide campaign to profit was these drugs, and the judge said that the company had contributed to a "public nuisance" in its deceptive promotion of highly addictive prescription painkillers.

For more information on the Opioid Scandel visit this Mercola website, which begins with this statement. "Opioid overdoses kill more than 130 people in the U.S. daily1 in an unprecedented crisis that continues to spiral out of control."

AND SO IT GOES ON.........

The list of fraud and dishonesty practised by the pharmaceutical companies is a long one, and an ongoing one. Those mentioned above are just a few selected examples from recent years. They are not isolated incidents. They have become a regular part of the pharmaceutical business. They form a pattern of behaviour that has continued over many decades.

And for every case brought to court there are probably hundreds more that never reach that stage, or which go unexamined.

(This information was first published in my "The Failure of Conventional Medicine" website)

No one can examine this plethora of cases without realising that pharmaceutical companies are not open, honest and trustworthy businesses; nor can anyone believe that they place patient safety before corporate profit.

Nor should anyone believe that any drug they produce are safe, or even effective. Most of the drugs mentioned in the above list of criminal cases are still being used by conventional medicine with patients.

And hopefully no one who knows anything about this long history of dishonesty, corruption and fraud will be tempted to take any pharmaceutical drug or vaccine in the future.