Watchdog Group Says Pharma Execs Need Jail Time

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Pharmaceutical companies aren’t being held up to the same standard that everyone else is, according to Watchdog group, Public Citizen, who monitors pharmaceutical industry criminal activity. They say a downward trend in money paid out for violations has declined immensely, prompting them to raise concerns.

After analyzing 25 years of pharmaceutical industry settlements, the group found that a mere $2.4 billion in penalties and court awards were recovered in 2014 to 2015; while in 2012 to 2013, the number was $8.7 billion. What might be an even more ominous sign is that using those same aforementioned years, pharmaceutical companies have shown an 80% drop in settlement payouts.

Now Public Citizen is out for blood. And by “blood,” I mean prison sentences. They claim that without much stiffer penalties, pharmaceutical companies will continue blatant criminal activities.

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Sammy Almashat is one of the researchers for Public Citizen. She told Yahoo! that she feels the small potential penalties for Pharma don’t dissuade fraudulent activity.

“Previous penalties never have been large enough to deter the most common types of pharmaceutical fraud,” he said in a statement. “So it would be surprising if the industry suddenly decided of its own accord to comply with laws it has routinely violated for decades.”

The worst part may be the final portion of the report which reveals “repeat offenders.” So who tops that list? None other than Pfizer.

Of course in some ways, this is none too surprising. It still paints a very bleak picture of our current environment. Pharmaceutical companies are shielded from vaccine litigation and outside of vaccines; they just don’t fear the potential repercussions. A lack of jailtime combined with financial settlement figures which don’t even come close to threatening infrastructure mean more rampant fraud. Pharmaceuticals are one of the largest advertisers in the world, placing ads during almost every major television event. The NFL is one of the most widely watched television programs in the world, and pharmaceutical companies have all but taken over those segments, consistently using former players and current NFL analysts has spokespeople.

Thankfully, watchdog programs such as Public Citizen attempt to keep an eye on pharma’s activities. However, in the end, it is up to we the people to share this responsibility. We need to stop being influenced by pharma’s marketing campaigns and become more active in spreading the truth amongst our family and friends.

Here’s a pharmaceutical trend worth noting:

National Overdose Deaths—Number of Deaths from Prescription Drugs. The figure above is a bar chart showing the total number of U.S. overdose deaths involving prescription drugs from 2001 to 2014. The chart is overlayed by a line graph showing the number of deaths by females and males. From 2001 to 2014 there was a 2.8-fold increase in the total number of deaths.
National Overdose Deaths—Number of Deaths from Prescription Drugs. The figure above is a bar chart showing the total number of U.S. overdose deaths involving prescription drugs from 2001 to 2014. The chart is overlayed by a line graph showing the number of deaths by females and males. From 2001 to 2014 there was a 2.8-fold increase in the total number of deaths.

We need to change.

 


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