Can You Trust Big Pharma? Read this and decide.

The Boston Globe reports: 9/28/07

“Bristol-Myers Squibb and a subsidiary have agreed to pay more than $515 million to settle civil suits over fraudulent drug marketing and pricing schemes, including illegally promoting an anti-psychotic drug to children and the elderly, US Attorney Michael J. Sullivan said yesterday. …
The agreement says Bristol-Myers Squibb gave kickbacks to physicians and healthcare providers from 2000 through mid-2003 to get them to prescribe the company’s drugs. The kickbacks came in several forms, including consulting fees and trips to luxury resorts.
“Patients are entitled to unbiased decision-making from their physicians and should not have to worry that financial inducements or lavish entertainment have influenced their physicians’ prescribing choices,” Sullivan said. …
Bristol-Myers Squibb participated in pricing schemes, including one involving its anti-depressant drug Serzone, that defrauded the Medicaid program, prosecutors said.
Bristol-Myers Squibb and Apothecon also inflated prices for a wide assortment of cancer-fighting and generic drugs, deceiving federal healthcare programs that established reimbursement rates based on those prices, prosecutors said. …
Dr. Jerome Kassirer, a professor at Tufts University School of Medicine and outspoken critic of drug companies, is skeptical.
“A lot of these companies, when they get sued for a few million dollars, they just consider it loose change,” he said. “I haven’t seen any let-up in what they’re doing. Most of the time, when they’re caught, they’ll often say, ‘It was a renegade, someone who wasn’t following the instructions. Our policy says we shouldn’t do that.’ “

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