GlaxoSmithKline is not the only drug manufacturer to face fines from the federal government for improper marketing of drugs, but the British company with U.S. headquarters in Research Triangle Park is paying the biggest criminal-civil fine ever, $3 billion. The government, through the Department of Justice, said the company was marketing some drugs for unapproved uses. Its tactics included providing doctors with resort and hunting trips and lucrative speaking engagements.
One Justice official characterized that technique as bribery, providing perks and expecting doctors to prescribe the companys drugs.
Glaxo, while disputing some of the governments findings, said it has learned from the mistakes that were made. Sadly, the custom of drug-makers courting doctors isnt new, and it isnt over. And it can result in some downright improper things happening.
The drug business is a competitive one, and that competition drives companies to go all out. It also appears it has prompted them to go over the top, for which they pay dearly, as they should.