Corruption Watch: Big Pharma

When greed is culturally sanctioned and executives are free to cheat pretty much at will with the only downside being civil fines that are “written off” as a cost of doing business, we can have the remarkable corruption we see in Big Pharma.

From the NY Times back in July:

In the largest settlement involving a pharmaceutical company, the British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges and pay $3 billion in fines for promoting its best-selling antidepressants for unapproved uses and failing to report safety data about a top diabetes drug, federal prosecutors announced Monday. The agreement also includes civil penalties for improper marketing of a half-dozen other drugs…

No individuals have been charged in any of the cases. Even so, the Justice Department contends the prosecutions are well worth the effort — reaping more than $15 in recoveries for every $1 it spends, by one estimate.

But critics argue that even large fines are not enough to deter drug companies from unlawful behavior. Only when prosecutors single out individual executives for punishment, they say, will practices begin to change.

I do believe the solution is in the paragraph above.

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