Non-malevolence goes beyond harm reduction. Bioethical principles must apply to pharmaceutical companies to ensure public safety and honest business practices. Purdue Pharma pleaded guilty to fraud and bribery conspiracies, admitted its role in the opioid epidemic and provided evidence that the company acted unprincipled to take advantage of people rather than treat them.  In excerpts from previous studies, Purdue Pharma referenced other opioids developed before OxyContin, taking research out of context and using it inappropriately, and failing to resolve conflicts of interest. The court`s decision, which held the company accountable for its role in the opioid epidemic, reflects the immorality of its research practices and decisions. In a statement, a Mallinckrodt spokeswoman said the company is “deeply committed to regulatory compliance and maintains state-of-the-art controls around the sale of its opioid products.” 3:15 p.m. May 4, 2018An earlier version of this article incorrectly stated that Mallinckrodt spokeswoman Rhonda Sciarra said Los Angeles officials unfairly targeted the company. Pharmaceutical giants from GSK, Abbott and Pfizer to Bayer were fined for gross negligence. Last week, Delhi-based Business Standard published an article that multinational pharmaceutical companies Novartis, Pfizer, Bayer and Bristol Myers Squibb were involved in clinical trials in India that killed 438 people in 2011.
Citing data from India`s Comptroller General of Drugs (DCGI), the newspaper listed the companies and deaths that led to the studies of each of these companies, including a handful of domestic drug manufacturers. The companies, of course, denied that the deaths were due to the drugs administered during the trials, and the US-based clinical organization that conducted most of the trials, Quintiles, had a perfectly plausible explanation for this. Since most patients who participated in such studies had a pre-existing condition, deaths could therefore occur for a variety of reasons. But what made the skin tingle was the revelation that companies rely on doctors who can complete studies quickly and pay them large sums of money. Big Pharma`s ability to exploit physicians for malpractice is well known and well documented in the United States and Europe. Just three weeks earlier, British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), one of the world`s largest pharmaceutical companies, had reached a record $3 billion settlement with the United States over a series of sordid practices. The “settlement,” which means that no one will be arrested, tried or imprisoned, as is appropriate given the seriousness of the allegations, has been called historic because it is the largest health fraud payment in the United States. Here are some of the steps GSK is taking to ensure its business grows and grows, and be warned that this makes it difficult to read. It illegally promoted Paxil for the treatment of depression in children from 1998 to 2003, although it was not approved for people under the age of 18. He sold Wellbutrin badly and also failed to report safety concerns for seven years with the diabetes drug Avandia, which was restricted in the U.S. and banned in Europe because it significantly increases the risk of heart attack.
There were more. But what is relevant here is the accusation of paying bribes to doctors to prescribe several drugs. He flooded doctors with gifts, consulting contracts, conference fees, and managed to attract an incredible 49,000 of them as the company`s “spokespersons” — doctors who received about $2,000 for an hour of advertising work. While U.S. newspapers cling to the amount of severance pay, a simple analysis shows how insignificant the penalty is. At the time of the abuse, it raised $27 billion for just three of its antidepressants, which it illegally advertised. Such fines or settlements are grist to the mill of a company with a market capitalization of more than $115 billion. Stocks are high and investment advice is always “buying”. It`s GSK. But all other multinationals show a similar marketing flair.
A few months ago, the American multinational Abbott Laboratories was fined $1.5 billion for illegally advertising its drug Depakote, and what is particularly repugnant is that the company has trained its sales force to target the elderly by falsely labeling the drug to control agitation and aggression in elderly patients with dementia. Abbott has created programs and materials to train pharmacist consultants on off-label use and has reportedly paid millions of dollars in rebates to pharmacy suppliers. More importantly, he was forced to halt Depakote`s clinical trial for the treatment of dementia due to an increased incidence of “adverse events.” The GSK case was taken over by the Ministry of Justice 10 years after two whistleblowers brought the company`s grievances to the company`s attention. Tellingly, these pharmaceutical giants have rarely held their senior executives accountable for risking the lives of patients, especially children. Until the announcement of the GSK deal in early July, it was Pfizer that occupied a prominent place with a record fine of $ 2.3 billion for the “inappropriate” marketing of 13 drugs, including Viagra and Lipitor, which fights cholesterol, which has been the world`s best-selling drug for years. Pfizer reportedly encouraged doctors to prescribe its medications to posh resorts with free golf, massages and junkets. The honor roll includes Merck ($950 million settlement related to its drug Vioxx); Johnson & Johnson ($600 million for allegations that nursing homes bribed to mismarket its drug), Eli Lilly ($1.4 billion settlement for its drug Zyprexa), Novartis ($422.5 million for unapproved marketing of an epilepsy drug and bribes to doctors for prescribing six drugs); Bristol-Myers Squibb ($499 million for excessive government fees and questionable marketing practices).