GlaxoSmithKline Pleads Guilty In U.S. Drug Fraud Case

GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) is to pay $3bn (£1.9bn) in the largest healthcare fraud settlement in US history.

The drug giant is to plead guilty to promoting two drugs for unapproved uses and failing to safety data about a diabetes drug to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). The settlement will cover criminal fines as well as civil settlements with the federal and state governments. The case concerns the drugs Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia.

GSK, one of the world’s largest healthcare and pharmaceuticals companies, admitted to promoting antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin for unapproved uses, including treatment of children and adolescents. The illegal practice is known as off-label marketing. The company also conceded charges that it held back data and made unsupported safety claims over its diabetes drug Avandia. In addition, GSK has been found guilty of paying kickbacks to doctors.


“The sales force bribed physicians to prescribe GSK products using every imaginable form of high-priced entertainment, from Hawaiian vacations [and] paying doctors millions of dollars to go on speaking tours, to tickets to Madonna concerts,” said US attorney Carmin Ortiz.

Andrew Witty, the firm’s chief executive, said procedures for compliance, marketing and selling had been changed at GSK’s US unit: ”We have learnt from the mistakes that were made,” Mr Witty said. “When necessary, we have removed employees who have engaged in misconduct.”

Do you think all drug companies are involved in this kind illegal practice, or is GSK just an exception? What is your opinion regarding this case? Share your thoughts with us in the comment box below!

Source: BBC News

Image: CEO World

Diabetes Drugs Can Aid in Weight Loss

Two drugs approved to treat type 2 diabetes may also aid weight loss in overweight people with or without diabetes, a new study shows. The drugs Byetta and Victoza mimic gut hormones that decrease appetite. They are typically prescribed when patients need medication to help control their blood sugar.

The review reveals that the drugs helped overweight people without diabetes shed an average of 7 pounds and those with diabetes lose an average of 6 pounds when injected daily or weekly for at least five months. That makes these agents promising treatments for obesity, study authors say. The medications also appear to lower blood pressure and cholesterol slightly, which may help heart disease risks.

But the drugs, known as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) receptor agonists, also come with side effects. They work, in part, by slowing the movement of food through the stomach. That can sometimes cause a good deal of nausea or even vomiting, especially after a large meal. But Vilsboll says that side effect generally fades over time and doesn’t usually cause people to stop taking the medication.

Experts who were not involved in the review say they are cautiously optimistic about the drugs’ prospects for weight loss. Because the drugs are already on the market, doctors have the ability to prescribe them solely for weight loss. But experts say such “off-label” use of the drugs can be risky.

Large studies testing the drugs for weight loss in people without diabetes are ongoing. Until the results of those studies are known, “I think the off-label use of these agents would be premature,” Padwal tells WebMD.

 

Source: Web MD

Image: CNN