PFIZER HIT WITH 2.3 BILLION IN FINES

Dy’er Sez: On the surface, it seems like this pharma giant is getting its come-uppence and for once all is right with the government. Realistically, Pfizer, and many other pharmaceutical companies, will continue the same practices even after this record fine is paid(the article even mentions that Pfizer had been fined huge sums for the same practices before); it’s not the amount paid out that concerns them, it’s the amount of money coming IN to the company which determines their ethics…or lack thereof.

If the person who gave the go-ahead to make these back-room deals with the doctors were to go to jail for ten years, this bribery of doctors would end. If the government contracts of these companies were in jeopardy of cancellation due to their lack of business ethics, the practice would end. If a doctor’s license to practice would be terminated due to participation with these slimy drug reps, the practice would end.

The levying of these fines on corporations has little to no effect on the practices of these companies, and serve as nothing more than revenue generation for the federal government. Maybe THIS would be a good place to start health care reform – not to build on the shaky foundation that we already have, but to actually change the industry for the better by having REAL penalties for misdeeds, and not a protection-racket type of payment to the thugs in suits that run the government.

Story from AP:

Pfizer to pay record $2.3B penalty for drug promos

By DEVLIN BARRETT, Associated Press Writer

WASHINGTON – Federal prosecutors hit Pfizer Inc. with a record-breaking $2.3 billion in fines Wednesday and called the world’s largest drugmaker a repeating corporate cheat for illegal drug promotions that plied doctors with free golf, massages, and resort junkets.

Announcing the penalty as a warning to all drug manufacturers, Justice Department officials said the overall settlement is the largest ever paid by a drug company for alleged violations of federal drug rules, and the $1.2 billion criminal fine is the largest ever in any U.S. criminal case. The total includes $1 billion in civil penalties and a $100 million criminal forfeiture.

Authorities called Pfizer a repeat offender, noting it is the company’s fourth such settlement of government charges in the last decade. The allegations surround the marketing of 13 different drugs, including big sellers such as Viagra, Zoloft, and Lipitor.

As part of its illegal marketing, Pfizer invited doctors to consultant meetings at resort locations, paying their expenses and providing perks, prosecutors said.

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