GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) -- a London-based titan in the pharmaceutical industry that has a strong Pennsylvania nexus, with a large office and plant facilities in the state -- is nearing the end of its long-term investigatory and legal woes stemming from a veritable litany of transgressions committed by the company over a decade-plus period.
Glaxo's corporate sins, coupled with the settlement it just reached with the federal government and a number of state governments, was described by U.S. Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole recently as "unprecedented in size and scope."
Glaxo has previously been involved in medical malpractice litigation concerning its failure to report true clinical data for some of its drug offerings, as well as the adverse side effects suffered by some patients using its pharmaceuticals.
The settlement the company just executed has been reported as the largest in history for a drug maker, with GSK being required to pay approximately $3 billion to dispose of multiple claims against it. Those claims relate to its improper marketing of drugs, failure to accurately report prices used to calculate rebates owed to the government for drugs sold through Medicare, and withholding of safety information.
The company, for example, marketed the drug Paxil -- an adult-approved antidepressant -- for use in minors, despite ever receiving FDA approval for such use. Glaxo also failed to disclose and, additionally, minimized adverse data relating to its top-selling diabetes medication, Avandia.
Cole stated that the historically large settlement "underscores our robust commitment to protecting the American people from the scourge of health-care fraud."
Pennsylvania will receive $13 million as its share of the settlement.
Source: Philadelphia Inquirer, "GlaxoSmithKline to pay a record penalty of $3 billion," David Sell, July 3, 2012