In case there were any doubts about Big Pharma's bad intentions, the Public Citizen's Health Research Group released a study that should resound in the medical community: Drug companies have surpassed the defense industry as the biggest defrauder of the federal government. Let that marinate for a moment. Ok? Let's continue.
Among their findings: Of the nearly $20 billion in penalties paid out by drug companies over the past 20 years, nearly 75 percent of the settlements were paid out in the last five years.
Most of the infractions were for promoting off-label (non-FDA approved) uses for drugs. Recruiting doctors to push off-label uses has been a successful strategy in raising sales and market-share. It's also illegal as hell. The rest of the infractions were for overcharging the government — Big Pharma's biggest customer.
More than half of the settlements were paid out by four companies: GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and Schering-Plough.