GSK Fined US$3 BILLION – largest health fraud settlement in U.S. history

So hot on the heals of more fraud by Merck [Merck Vaccine Fraud – 2nd US Court Case Over MMR Vaccine] we now have more fraud by GlaxoSmithKline.  You can read the Associated Press breaking story here:

GlaxoSmithKline to pay $3 billion in fines, the largest health care fraud settlement in U.S. history – THE ASSOCIATED PRESS – Tuesday, July 3, 2012

The Justice Department said that British drugmaker will plead guilty to promoting popular antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin for unapproved uses. The company also will plead guilty to failing to report to the government for seven years some safety problems with diabetes drug Avandia, which was restricted in the U.S. and banned in Europe after it was found in 2007 to sharply increase the risks of heart attacks and congestive heart failure.

Instead of repeating the story we are going to set out the names of GSK’s Board and ask what they have done about this and also ask what is the next fraud to come out of the company? This is not the first time GSK has been mired in fraud.  We list below the Board of Directors of GlaxoSmithKline today – so check out who was on the board, read the following facts and then ask yourself “should they still be on GSK’s Board?” 

And don’t forget – what are we supposed to think of people like the GSK Board who hired James Murdoch of News International onto their Board of Directors to protect their reputation and then had to dump him because of all the corruption associated directly with James Murdoch at News Corporation and News International which is being examined publicly in the Leveson Inquiry.

And should British first ministers like Prime Minister David Cameron and Chancellor George Osborne cosy up to a company like GSK?  Should we as the public cross the street to avoid GSK and all who have anything to do with it?

And let us be clear about the dates – PA report:

The case against Glaxo was originally brought in January 2003 by two whistleblowers, former Glaxo sales representatives Greg Thorpe and Blair Hamrick. In January 2011, the federal government joined in the case.

BUT PA also report:

The company also will plead guilty to failing to report to the government for seven years some safety problems with diabetes drug Avandia, which was restricted in the U.S. and banned in Europe after it was found in 2007 to sharply increase the risks of heart attacks and congestive heart failure.

If 2008 is the cut-off date then is it the case that any current GSK Director on the Board prior to 2008 is one of those ultimately responsible for overseeing fraud – yes that’s right – fraud?

We can also justifiably ask, is 2008 the appropriate cut-off date or should it be October 2010 when the European Medicines Agency withdrew the licence for Avandia?  In other words the GSK Board of Directors as it was constituted up to and including October 2010 are all implicated as GSK was still marketing Avandia: European Medicines Agency experts have said Avandia, a leading diabetes drug, should be suspended from the market. BBC Health News 23 September 2010 Last updated at 17:13

As you can see of the 16 current GSK Board members, 10 were on the Board during and/or prior to 2008 and 11 up to October 2010.   So should these people be on the Board of any company?  And if not, what are they still doing there?  These are fair questions to ask.  After all, if they can let their companies get away with fraud then everyone might as well do the same.  And what did they know of these frauds?  And if they claim they knew nothing – then why are they on the Board of the Company in the first place.

PA reports: “Sir Andrew Witty, Glaxo’s CEO, expressed regret Monday and said the company has learned “from the mistakes that were made.”

It needs to learn more – like most of the Board of Directors should go and right now.  Here they are:

Sir Christopher Gent – joined the Board as Deputy Chairman in June 2004.

Sir Andrew Witty – Chief Executive Officer – joined the Board in January 2008.

Professor Sir Roy Anderson – joined the Board in February 2007

Dr Stephanie Burns – Non-Executive Director – joined the Board in February 2007.

Stacey Cartwright – Non-Executive Director joined the Board in April 2011.

Larry Culp – Non-Executive Director joined the Board in July 2003.

Sir Crispin Davis – Non-Executive Director joined the Board in July 2003.

Simon Dingemans – Chief Financial Officer joined the Board in January 2011.

Lynn Elsenhans – Chief Financial Officer joined the Board in July 2012.

Judy Lewent – Non-Executive Director joined the Board in April 2011. BUT She is the former Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer of Merck & Co., Inc. which is a corporation which has previously been found guilty of fraud.

Sir Deryck Maughan – Non-Executive Director joined the Board in June 2004.

Dr Daniel Podolsky – Non-Executive Director joined the Board in July 2006.

Dr Moncef Slaoui – Chairman, Research & Development joined the Board in May 2006.

Tom de Swaan – Non-Executive Director joined the Board in January 2006.

Jing Ulrich – Non-Executive Director joined the Board in July 2012.

Sir Robert Wilson – Non-Executive Director joined the Board in November 2003

10 Responses

  1. Barclays Bank is fined £60m for fraud and the CEO eventually resigns. GlaxoSmithKline is fined £1.9bn for fraud and the CEO gets a knighthood. What’s all that about?

  2. This is a sickness that will only be cured by jail time …

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