WASHINGTON — Drug manufacturer Forest Pharmaceuticals Inc. was sentenced today by U.S. District Judge Nancy Gertner to pay a criminal fine of $150 million and forfeit assets of $14 million following the company’s guilty plea in November 2010 to one felony count of obstructing justice, one misdemeanor count of distributing an unapproved new drug in interstate commerce and one misdemeanor count of distributing a misbranded drug in interstate commerce, the Justice Department announced.
Dollar Value of Psychiatric Drugs Is Enormous— The preponderance of psychiatrists on the ProPublica list may reflect the proportion of prescription activity involving psychiatric drugs. In 2009, the dollar value of antipsychotic drugs came to $14.6 billion, topping all other therapeutic classes, according to research firm IMS Health. Antidepressants occupied the number 4 spot on the list, valued at $9.9 billion. IMS Health put the total US prescription market in 2009 at $300.3 billion.
Carol Bernstein, MD, president of the American Psychiatric Association, told Medscape Medical News that the thorny issue of pharmaceutical industry compensation went beyond her specialty.
Letters from the government to one of the companies, which were reviewed by The Wall Street Journal, identified four types of possible violations: bribing government-employed doctors to purchase drugs; paying company sales agents commissions that are passed along to government doctors; paying hospital committees to approve drug purchases; and paying regulators to win drug approvals.