Big Pharma now tops list of government defrauders, group finds

Milwaukee Wisconsin Journal Sentinel, Dec. 16, 2010

The pharmaceutical industry has zoomed by the defense industry to become the biggest defrauder of the federal governement based on payments obtained under the federal False Claims Act, according to an analysis by the group Public Citizen.

Since 1991, there have been 165 major settlements of civil and criminal cases resulting in fines and payments totaling nearly $20 billion, the organization reported.

“Desperate to maintain their high margin of profit in the face of a dwindling number of important new drugs, these figures show that the industry has engaged in such activities as dangerous, illegal promotion for unapproved uses of drugs and deliberately overcharging vital government health programs, such as Medicare and Medicaid,” said Sidney Wolfe, director of the Health Research Group at Public Citizen.

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