December 30, 2009
You couldn’t get much naughtier than Eli Lilly in 2009 who agreed to pay $1.42 billion for mismarketing Zyprexa and Pfizer who agreed to pay $2.3 billion for Bextra, Geodon, Lyrica and Zyvox fraud.
Pharma will continue to dole out such payouts and consider them a slap on the wrist says a Bloomberg article until prosecutors and judges “use the ultimate sanction, a felony conviction that would render a company’s drugs ineligible for reimbursement by state health programs and federal Medicare.”
Nor did the mismarketing and fraud only enrich drug companies and loot Medicaid and Medicare tax dollars.
Doctor have also cleaned up like Chicago psychiatrist Michael Reinstein who received $500,000 to promote a drug that Medicaid records say he prescribed 41,000 times according to Chicago Tribune and Propublico, figures Reinstein disputes.
And Miami psychiatrist Fernando Mendez-Villamil who wrote 97,000 psychoactive prescriptions for Medicaid patients over 18 months says the Miami Herald –153 prescriptions a day. His prescribathon even drew a letter from Sen. Charles Grassley, ranking member of the Senate Finance Committee.