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Rapidly Increasing Criminal and Civil Monetary Penalties Against the Drug Industry

U.S. spending on prescription drugs increased from $40 billion in 1990 to $234 billion in 2008. Illegal drug company activities have been contributing to this inflated spending -- and it seems to be getting steadily worse.

A recent study found that, of the 165 settlements comprising $19.8 billion in penalties to drug companies over the past 20 years, 73 percent of the settlements and 75 percent of the penalties have occurred in just the past five years.  Four companies (GlaxoSmithKline, Pfizer, Eli Lilly, and Schering-Plough) accounted for more than half of all financial penalties imposed over the past two decades.

According to Public Citizen:

“While the defense industry used to be the biggest defrauder of the federal government under the False Claims Act (FCA) ... the pharmaceutical industry has greatly overtaken the defense industry in recent years. The pharmaceutical industry now tops not only the defense industry, but all other industries in the total amount of fraud payments for actions against the federal government under the False Claims Act.”

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