A well known Yoga Guru in Mumbai,whose sessions I attended for a few months some years ago had aggressively argued that the World’s leading Pharmaceutical Companies are all one Huge Cartel ~ he never advocated Allopathy and urged us to stay away from Allopathic Medicines ~ we knew he was right but we were helpless and yet remain so in our dependence on such Drug Formulations
UK’s Glaxo has just agreed to plead guilty and pay up a record US $ 3 billion for the biggest healthcare fraud in US History ~ it relates to offences on the selling of three of their best selling drugs in the period 1997 to 2004 ~ US $ One Billion will be the Fine payable to US Authorities while US $ Two Billion will be paid to State and Federal Governments to settle civil issues
The Drugs that were prescribed or positioned wrongly were
- Paxil ~ It’s a common anti depressant but was not to be prescribed for depressed children below 18 years of age as studies had showed that it induced suicidal tendencies ~ Glaxo,USA however was found to be prescribing Paxil to even Children through over 5000 Doctors on Glaxo USA’s panel of which over 1700 were exclusively treating just children
- Wellbutrin ~It’s approved for being prescribed for Depression ~ however it was positioned and prescribed for unapproved uses like that as a slimming aid and for loss of sexual drive ~ For just Two Months of March and April 1999,Glaxo even paid the well known Doctor Drew Pinsky US $ 275000 to promote this Drug in his Speeches and Radio Interviews and prescribe it for loss of libido ! ~ Hundreds and Thousands of other Doctors were induced through high Speaking Fees and fully sponsored five star trips to exotic locations for spouse too
- Avandia ~ was prescribed for Diabetes but it’s dangers were not revealed to the US watchdogs ~ concerns were not disclosed that it induced heart attacks
In 2009,Pfizer had paid US $ 2.2 Billion for selling four drugs for unapproved uses
For these Pharmaceutical Giants, even such giant fines and settlements are merely just a percentage of their annual profits ~ Glaxo’s US $ 3 billion settlement is just first Quarter Profits in 2012
Glaxo earned Pounds Two Billion (US $ 3.1 Billion) on a Turnover of Pounds 6.4 Billion (US $ 10 Billion) in just the first quarter of 2012
My Question is this :
In Light of the nature of this huge and incriminating Glaxo USA Settlement why has the Indian Government not immediately raised the Red Flag of Inquiry to Glaxo India through the concerned Ministry or the Drug Regulatory Authorities or even the Stock Exchanges BSE and NSE where it is listed to investigate the Indian Implications for Glaxo’s Indian Operations in context of the Drugs it sells here ? ~ I’m not talking of Financials here ! ~ or do we,1.2 Billion Indians continue to be guinea pigs to Multinational Pharmaceutical Companies and their Prescribed Drugs
The Company and Doctor Nexus is strong in India too ~ and I believe many Drugs that have been banned in the USA and Europe are yet manufactured and sold and prescribed in India ! ~ and we remain hostage to the high risks let alone the high pricing too of many Drugs
I wish Glaxo India would have come out with a proactive clarification !
One last thought ~ we continue to decry Cigarette and Tobacco Companies for their Products being immensely harmful and injurious to health ! ~ should not this warning be now put even more boldly on Medicine Packaging instead of just labelling it as a Schedule Drug to be sold on doctor’s prescription only ! Most pharmacies will sell even such labelled drugs OTC without any genuine Doctor Prescription !
And on a Chuckling note on hindsight it was probably safer to be duped by a Fake Medicine of a Popular Brand when that Brand Formulation is finally banned when the danger of it being consumed are fully known and disclosed !
This also raises a bigger question !
Is it Alright for ‘Ethical Giants’ to commit Crimes once in a while comprising ‘Principles’ for ‘Profits’ and later paying ‘Penalties’ for ‘Penance’ !?