As a Houston injury attorney with medical training, I’m well aware of the dangers of prescribed drugs. I’m also aware of the tricks the giant pharmaceutical companies will use to maximize their profits.
The alarming marketing practices of two giant drug companies were highlighted in July 2012, resulting in massive fines.
In early July, GlaxoSmithKline, the British pharmaceutical company and the manufacturer of the depression drugs Paxil and Wellbutrin, agreed to plead guilty to federal charges which entailed paying $3 billion in what was the largest healthcare-fraud settlement in U.S. history.
Meanwhile Johnson & Johnson – a firm already embroiled in a massive lawsuit over problems caused by artificial hips - is reported to have reached a deal with government investigators that will involve paying up to $2.2 billion, including a criminal fine of about $400 million, the Wall Street Journal reported.
The sums may seem large but they are a drop in the ocean for these big drug companies. It’s the patients who suffered side effects from drugs they weren’t intended to use, who are the real victims.
Johnson & Johnson was accused of promoting Risperdal to unapproved users. It’s is a strong antipsychotic drug that has only been approved to treat symptoms of adult schizophrenia. However, witnesses at a recent lawsuit in Texas claimed Johnson & Johnson marketed it to children, who are extremely vulnerable to its side effects. The company was accused of ignoring warning from the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
Glaxo was accused of marketing Paxil to under 18s, even though the drug was not approved for their use.
And Glaxo was accused of promoting Wellbutrin for uses it wasn’t approved for - as a weight-loss drug and for treating sexual dysfunction and substance abuse. Glaxo was accused of paying doctors millions of dollars to promote unapproved uses of the drug.
Even when the drug is marketed to the people who are meant to take it, drugs such as Paxil, can have alarming side effects. Paxil has been linked to changes in mood behavior, anxiety, suicides and even homicides as well as lung problems in newborns.
Donald Schell shot and killed his family and himself after taking Paxil. A jury later found Glaxo liable in a massive lawsuit.
As a Houston dangerous drugs attorney I am alarmed by the behavior of drug companies such as Glaxo and Johnson & Johnson. If you or a loved one has been harmed by a prescription drug you should contact us. For a free case evaluation by an experienced Houston injury attorney who could assist you with a potential personal injury case, please call our law firm at (713) 888-8888 or (281) 88