November 4, 2013

Oh, but the corporations! Those terrible corporations!

"Health care manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and its subsidiaries will pay more than $2.2 billion to resolve criminal and civil investigations over allegations that they marketed three drugs for uses that were never approved, and that kickbacks were paid to physicians and to a long-term care pharmacy provider, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder said today in Washington."

A "Breaking News" email from CNN, received just now.

ADDED: Meanwhile, in the current pop culture, selling unapproved AIDS drugs, based on a true story: "Dallas Buyers Club."

29 comments:

David said...

Look! Over there! A corporation!!!

madAsHell said...

This is Trayvon Martin re-visited.

jacksonjay said...


13. Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it!

Henry said...

Here's the article

Some good comments amid the caterwauling. Several commentators point out that it is okay for doctors to prescribe drugs for off-label treatments, it's just not okay for pharma companies to market drugs for off-label treatments.

It's also worth figuring out how the sides line up. The victims in this case aren't patient. The victims are insurance companies.

[Holder] said Rispidol and Invega ... were improperly marketed for dementia treatment. That led insurance companies to pay for claims they never should have been paying, he said.

The poor dears.

Now think of every medical drama, ever. What does the maverick doctor do to save the patient's life? Prescribe something off-label!

Meanwhile, anyone with immediate experience of pharmaceutical remedies knows that many drugs don't work as prescribed and side effects are highly individual.

So we have a system where pharmaceutical treatment requires doctors pay attention to individual patients and possibly cycle through more than one drug to find one that is effective and doesn't incur awful side effects. At the same time we have a government enforcing bright lines that determine from afar how drugs are supposed to work and who is supposed to get them.

If you want to know how a death panel works, Eric Holder just showed you.

Beach Brutus said...

$2.2 Billion that will not be available for employee compensation, R&D, or for the Shareholders. Confiscated for saying something the government did not approve of.

Bob R said...

When a corporation lies, it's against the law. When Obama lies, it is the law.

Hagar said...

Sounds like "protection money" to me.

Joe said...

I read some articles and have yet to see if any patients were actually harmed by this. Were any?

Inventing novel ways for governments to fine corporations is rarely about protecting consumers, but about raising revenue.

In the end, companies are increasingly more worried about placating government than in pleasing customers.

EDH said...

At least this settlement lightens the DOJ workload and clears the way for Holder to bring prosecutions in the IRS scandal.

EDH said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
PB Reader said...

Why do you go after the corporations Mr. Obama? Because that's where the money is!

PB Reader said...

Evil shareholders!

Carl said...

You see a lot of these stories in the last few years. The Obama Administration is looking for new ways to raise revenue, and the Robin Hood model really appeals to them.

Alex said...

Honestly I don't understand why conservative knee-jerk defend giant corporations. They just might be evil ya know.

Inga said...

Oh those poor insurance companies! They were wronged.

Henry said...

Inga -- Make sure you read the article so you know which side you're supposed to be on.

Sam L. said...

IIRC, minoxidil was sold originally for erection difficulty, and a notable side-effect was hair growth. Some side-effects are highly desireable.

RecChief said...

have to find some large corporation or industry to demonize to distract from the ACA. Insurance companies and medical corporations. ho hum there is probably a set of talking points floating around.

When can we talk more about Benghazi and the IRS targeting of conservative groups again, as well as the debacle that is is the ACA?

rhhardin said...

It's legal to sell drugs for unapparoved uses, so long as you don't suggest them.

That's the chief way that new drugs get into use. Doctors think up new uses for approved drugs.

The FDA can't regulate the practice of medicine and so has no say in that.

tim in vermont said...

So I am being treated for a condition, with an expensive drug, btw, the copay is $50, which is off label for the drug. It is working. The approved drug for the condition is known to cause cardiac arrest for people with certain aspects of their EKG which my EKG also displays.

Evil pharma and evil Drs have conspired to make my poor insurance company pay for this treatment.

Inga said...

I did Henry, I'm just being agreeable today.

David said...

So why do corporations like J&J cave on such cases?

1. They know they are guilty?

2. They know it does not matter if they are guilty because the price of effective resistance is always more attacks?



AlanKH said...

Note to corporation bashers: Greenpeace is a corporation.

Illuninati said...

By criminalizing the promotion of off label prescribing, Eric Holder is seriously impeding patient access to the medicine they need.

The original rational for the expensive and time consuming process to license a drug for market was to ensure patient safety especially after the epidemic of birth defects in Europe from thalidomide. Once that is done, and the safety profile of the drug is known, then it should be up to the patient and his/her doctor when to use the drug even for illnesses which were not part of the original study. Drug companies are not going to retest every drug for every application especially if the application will benefit only a small group of patients.

An example is thalidomide itself which is still used for patients with multiple myeloma and erythema nodosum leprosum among other things. Drug companies used to be a good source of information about their own products and how different doctors used them. It was left up to the doctor to recognize the potential bias in the information received from the drug company and to do his own independent research to verify the information he received from the drug company. By blocking this normal conversation between the drug companies and the doctors, the Democrats are attacking free speech and are making it much more difficult for doctors to practice the best medicine for their patients. Because of Obama and Eric Holder there will probably be patients who do not receive effective or timely treatment.

http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/druginfo/meds/a699032.html#why

buck smith said...
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buck smith said...

I don't understand how the right to privacy creates a penumbra which only shades women's reproductive parts and leaves men and the rest of women's bodies under the harsh klieg lights of state control. If "our bodies, our selves" is gonna be anything more than the hollow slogan of a bunch of old women {which is a metaphor for a state of mind not a gender, age class} then the FDA should not have the right to tell Americans what we can and cannot put in our bodies

EMD said...

Is not the United States Government effectively the largest corporation in the world?

Kirk Parker said...

Illuniniti,

The FDA is charged with evaluating potential drugs for both safety and effectiveness. Like the latter or don't, but its part of their legal mandate and the reason for their concern about off-label uses.

Yes, they go way too far with it... they're a government agency after all.

halojones-fan said...

This is not an "Obama and Eric Holder" thing. This is how the FDA has always operated.

But if you think that the government has too much power, then move to Somalia you racist gunstroker.