The world is changing fast for bad corporations and corrupt bureaucracies.
The problems inside the FDA with repeated retaliation against agency employees who get caught in the middle of management and their clients, the drug companies, now have their own web site: Thoreau-FDA.
And the authors of this site remain true to one of the most effective whistleblower tenets in a world owned by corporate and political interests: They are all anonymous.
Catch them if you can FDA!
Crime and Punishment: Enough for Corporate Wrongdoing?
Corporate crime should not be a new concept to most people- especially with scandals revealed with large corporations at the beginning of this decade that was the catalyst upon coercion of the Sarbanes-Oxley Act soon after the start of the new millennium.
However, it may have evolved into more troubling ways- not only in regards to its severity, but the methods of deterrence now being implemented against corporations busted by our government- particularly those corporations involved in the health care industry in particular. So it may be becoming progressively worse for U.S. citizens as a result, as it is in fact our money being robbed by these criminals.
Rather than speak of all corporations, what will be discussed is government health care fraud. Fraud basically is deception with the potential to harm others. In the case of pharma companies, this may include improper promotion and marketing of medications or education- meaning that such tactics are or may be deceptive misconduct that may be illegal, yet remains unregulated, perhaps by design. In addition, there are the crimes of kickbacks and lesser crimes of misbranding products- all of which are done often by big pharma corporations in particular. Probably more methods of wrongdoing as well do in fact exist and happen- but so far it is hearsay. Yet the point is that drug companies should not engage in such wrongdoing to enrich their faceless existence with profiting off those who are ill in such overt and illegal ways.
The biggest fines so far of all time include many of these pharmaceutical corporations, along with some hospitals- all involved in the health care system that we as citizens depend on for our well being.
Hospitals, for example, have paid settlements to the DOJ have been NME in 1994 for keeping patients in their hospital against their will or medical reasons, among other things. They changed their name to Tenet Healthcare soon afterwards, and paid settlements once again. The big one regarding medical institutional systems is HCA healthcare for billing the government for work never done, among other things (This HCA Healthcare is amazingly or has been owned by Senator Bill Frists’ family, and somehow I’m not shocked in any way). HCA was fined twice actually, in 2000 and 2003, and the combined total of the settlements they paid totaled well over a billion dollars. If controlled humiliation and settlements are not effective deterrents, than why are they still the punishment paradigm for these wrongdoers? HCA proves this point. Schering-Plough has proven this as well in 2004 and 2007. Sequels typically take about three years, so it seems. Others have committed multiple crimes as well .
Speaking of corporate pharma and the paying of settlements, there was Tap in 2001, Serono in 2005, Pfizer in 2004, Abbott in 2003, and GSK in 1997, AstraZeneca in 2003, as well as Bayer this year and a few years ago as well- all for fraud against our government and us, the taxpayers. These corporations do not include all of the ones that have paid settlements in the past decade. And they top the list from the aspect of monetary penalty. Check out www.taf.org for more listings.
Kidney dialysis clinic Fresenius paid a settlement in 2000 for faking medical claims was a big one in recent times, as well as Gambro Healthcare, which provides dialysis centers. The irony is that a developer of the dialysis process, Belding Scribner, I understand, never patented his invention in hopes of greater use of this device that has saved so many lives. It’s ironic that this behavior exists at such establishments..
Profit should not, yet does interfere with our health care, and has for decades in a progressive manner.
Just how then is this criminal behavior discovered with these clearly unregulated corporate crimes? Typically by whistleblowers who worked for the described big pharma or medical company, and such people are rare for a number of reasons, considering their bravery and isolation I understand they experience after exposing such wrongdoing. The whistleblower then seeks legal agents and files what is called a qui tam false claims act with a district attorney’s office (Boston or Philadelphia, if you want prosecutors to take you seriously). After the case is filed, the whistleblower verbally acknowledges the charges and evidence to the chosen prosecutors and others, such as Attorney Generals throughout the U.S.A. Then this type of case remains in a state of suspended animation for many years in spite of what may be their possession of overwhelming evidence that frequently and potentially damages patients.
Such cases usually take years for unclear and questionable reasons to reach closure and acknowledgement, yet in the past two years, the settlements from such cases has approached a few billion dollars returned to the taxpayers after investigations ended that took all these years, which is tax dollars returned to the American public with these settlements, as I understand, through Attorney Generals of various states in the U.S.
So, what has been happening once a pharma company gets busted. Criminal indictment by the government prosecutors of the criminals? This is hardly the case, yet appropriate. Usually, the prosecutor’s objective is to dismiss the case, but give the impression that such activities will not be tolerated by our government that exists to protect us- the citizens. So deferred or non-prosecution agreements are implemented with these criminals, combined with invalid Corporate Integrity Agreements assigned to the criminals, but not enforced. A pharma company can and have committed equal or worse crimes while under such agreements as these. This Agreement is issued not only after the settlement agreement, but also after the deferred or non prosecution agreement is sentenced to the law-breaking corporation, which basically is a pre-trial diversion. Essentially, it’s just parole, which is supported by the DOJ and the administration along with the corporations. Cronyism, anyone?
The criminals admit wrongdoing, but not guilt. And they pay a settlement in the neighborhood of hundreds of millions of dollars. Not that shocking, if you consider the income of big pharma companies, as such an amount is more like a corporate tithing. These agreements are relatively new and partially a result of suggestions somehow devised by the lawmakers of our country that I understand is understaffed- perhaps by premeditation. Enforcement and regulation are not desired by our lawmakers.
We are the top country in the world with the most prisoners behind bars, yet those that do similar if not greater harm to others get out of jail free. Double standard, I would say. Is this behavior by our legal system towards corporations an effective deterrent? Most think not. It rather seems like tacit approval of their conduct. And health care fraud may be more damaging than other types in other industries, yet lack of regulation allows such crimes to continue.
Citizens should make the laws in our country. Justice would then finally exist- along with Freedom. Because it appears both we believe we have are quite an illusion.
“Corporations cannot commit treason, nor be outlawed, nor excommunicated, for they have no souls.”
---- Edward Coke
Author’s note: What has been written above is based upon information and belief
The FDA has turned into a corrupt organization ran by rich special interest groups (the pharmaceutical corporations).
more on that here
Post a Comment