Pharmalot has reported this week the news that AZ is in the final stages of completing a deal with the government over their shady and criminal actions with the drug Seroquel
Antipsychotics, you may recall, have become extremely controversial in recent years as the pills were more widely prescribed for young children and the elderly for indications not approved by the FDA (see this). In some nursing homes, for instance, seniors are experiencing tremors and a higher risk of harmful falls or even death while on the meds, which are known to cause weight gain and diabetes.
The investigation, which was underway at the same time that AstraZeneca has been battling numerous lawsuits over allegedly undisclosed Seroquel side effects, was led by the US Department of Justice’s Philadelphia office. Interestingly, the investigators reviewed not only Seroquel sales and marketing practices, but some physicians who participated in Seroquel clinical trials.
Separately, at least 34 states are pursuing separate investigations of AstraZeneca’s marketing practices as part of a joint investigation and others may be conducting their own probes. In other words, AstraZeneca may have to dole out more money for its practices.
An AstraZeneca spokesman says the drugmaker “is committed to strong, effective compliance programs, both in the U.S. and globally, to embed a culture of ethics and integrity in all our business practices. It has been and remains a key goal.”
What we see is missing with glaring regularity in these news reports; is how these "sealed" proceedings effect ongoing civil litigation for injuries incurred from the use of Seroquel by patients. To date there are an estimated 12,000+ civil complaints filed against AZ over Seroquel's metabolic effects on users (including massive weight gain, diabetes, and a whole host of other adverse side effects including death).
You would rationally and logically believe the DOJ would be forth coming with all the evidence they have accumulated in these matters? But this may not be the case here.
AstraZeneca has been down this road before; pleading guilty to criminal activities and signed an CIA agreement with the DOJ. They then continued to go about engaging in the same/like criminal behaviors without hesitation.
So will the DOJ hold them accountable for the first agreement they made to clean up their act? It appears they will not in all truth; DOJ will just have them sign another CIA, pay a small fine (in comparison to the massive profits they have made while conducting criminals activities), and AZ continues shady business as usual.
Let me attempt to put this into some type of normal speak context for everyone here:
Let's say you are arrested for a DUI (driving under the influence). You plead guilty and are assessed a fine, sign an agreement to attend some alcohol abuse classes, and are given probation in lieu of jail time if you agree to not engage in this illegal activity again.
A month later you are again arrested for another DUI. Now normally the court would not look to kindly upon such a behavior; probably revoking your license, levee even a larger fine, and you would probably spend some time in jail while picking up trash alone the interstate.
Now let's say you do your jail time and are arrested once more for another DUI. This time you are involved in an accident that caused serious injury to another. You would rationally expect the court to throw the book at you so to speak. You would probably face not only some serious prison time for your actions; but also be liable for paying considerable damages to the injured parties.
This analogy could be considered a rational response to an illegal act in these cases by most.
Yet if you happen to be a giant Pharmaceutical Corporation doing business in America this rational and logical argument does not appear to apply.
AstraZenena entered into a CIA agreement before with the DOJ in 2003.
from soulful sepulcher
ASTRAZENECA PHARMACEUTICALS LP PLEADS GUILTY
TO HEALTHCARE CRIME; COMPANY AGREES TO PAY
$355 MILLION TO SETTLE CHARGES
Yet here we are again with our government (acting in the capacity of the DOJ) allowing a repeated criminal offender to walk away from their crimes that have injured and maimed thousands upon thousands of innocent parties with little more than another backroom deal to avoid real punishment.
The people must demand better accountability from are judicial and enforcement bodies in relationship to repeat corporate offenders. We need to demand transparency and rational penalties; or these crimes against all American's will continue unabated with unimaginable cost to each and everyone of us.
Why you might ask? It's quite simple really; For these large corporations its more profitable to continue criminals activities, sign agreements they have no intention of following, and pay unsubstantial fines; than it is to be ethical, moral, and conduct honest business practices. The built in financial incentive is to not play by the rules of law or operate with responsible integrity.
We the People expect and demand more from the justice system. I write this post to let the DOJ know, we the people are watching and reporting upon your actions.
Read more and connect the dots yourself at these and many more links to great sites/information located on my sidebar:
PharmaGossip's Google Sidewiki entry about AstraZeneca's Seroquel Scandal: