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Pharma Giant Glaxo-Smith Kline Will Pay Largest Health Care Fraud Settlement in US History

Drugs firm GlaxoSmithKline will pay $3 billion (€2.38 billion) in fines after admitting to the largest healthcare fraud in US history.

The pharmaceutical company was accused of bribing doctors in the United States to prescribe medicines for unapproved uses, with potentially dangerous side effects.

Prosecutors said Glaxo illegally promoted Paxil for treating depression in children from 1998 to 2003, even though it wasn’t approved for anyone under age 18. The company also promoted Wellbutrin from 1999 through 2003 for weight loss, sexual dysfunction, substance addictions and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, although it was only approved for treatment of major depression.

Sir Andrew Witty, Glaxo’s chief executive, expressed regret yesterday and said the company had learned “from the mistakes that were made”.

Mr Witty said the company had “fundamentally changed” its procedures for compliance, marketing and selling, and that Glaxo understood “how important it is that our medicines are appropriately promoted to healthcare professionals and that we adhere to the standards rightly expected by the US government”.

In addition to the $3 billion penalty – which includes a $1 billion criminal fine and forfeiture and $2 billion to resolve civil claims – Glaxo agreed to be monitored by the US government for five years to ensure the company complies with marketing and other rules