If we talk about welfare fraud the focus invariably is upon a welfare mother who claims an extra $ 50 a month to which she is not entitled. We never talk about the Corporate Welfare scammers who rake off millions and billions. Likewise, talk about Medicaid and the tsk-tsk’ing is directed at an old woman who gets an extra test or a family practitioner who is overpaid a $ 100 but what about the BIG FRAUDERS? The biggest are BIG PHARMA —
The charges against major pharmaceutical companies accused of defrauding their Medicaid programs, include overcharging health programs, largely in the form of drug pricing fraud, as well as unlawful promotion of ‘off-label’ drugs (promoting drugs for unapproved uses).
2012 has already broken the record for financial penalties and court settlements against the pharmaceutical industry, with $6.6 billion recovered by mid-July.
The big pharma corporations associated with the largest penalties include GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson and Abbott. These companies were responsible for two-thirds of the financial penalties paid out to the federal and state governments over the course of the study period. GlaxoSmithKline topped the list with $3.1 billion in settlements.
“It should come as no surprise that states facing Medicaid budget shortfalls are finally deciding to root out fraud that likely has cost their taxpayers billions of dollars over the years,” said Dr. Sammy Almashat, a researcher with Public Citizen’s Health Research Group and the study’s author. “What this new report unequivocally shows is that those states that have chosen to hold the pharmaceutical industry accountable have largely seen their enforcement efforts pay for themselves.”
[SOURCE: Common Dreams, see Links]