Another day, another billion dollar pharma company fraud settlement with felony guilty pleas. In my NEJM Perspective (now online), I argue that the industry is treating these fines like a cost of doing business, without sufficient deterrent value. Options include:
- Criminal prosecution of individuals in addition to the companies;
- Enhanced whistleblower protections;
- Recouping a larger percentage of the ill-gotten gains; and
- Regulating the industry on a level playing field instead of layers of “corporate integrity agreements”
The latest settlement with GSK (J&J should announce soon) promises to recoup fraud-related bonuses from future executives and to stop paying drug reps based on off-label sales effectiveness. GSK also pled guilty to hiding important safety data on Avandia.