Dr. Sidney Wolfe, director of Public Citizen’s Health Research Group, joined Democracy Now!’s Amy Goodman and Juan Gonzalez this morning to talk about our new report that shows the pharmaceutical industry has overtaken the defense industry in the amount of fines paid for violating the Fair Claims Act.
Posts Tagged ‘fraud’
Defense contractors,who may never live down their reputation of overcharging the government (remember the $640 toilet seats?), can now offer up that there is a worse industry when it comes to cheating the government. A Public Citizen report released today found that the pharmaceutical industry has now become the biggest defrauder of the federal government.
The study found that pharmaceutical cases accounted for at least 25 percent of all federal Federal Claims Act violation payouts over the past decade, compared with 11 percent by the defense industry.
The fraud results were a key finding from a Public Citizen analysis of all major pharmaceutical company civil and criminal settlements on the state and federal levels since 1991 and found that the frequency with which the pharmaceutical industry has allegedly violated federal and state laws has increased at an alarming rate. Of the 165 pharmaceutical industry settlements comprising $19.8 billion in penalties during the past 20 years, 73 percent of the settlements (121) and 75 percent of the dollar amount ($14.8 billion) have occurred during the past five years.
Many of the infractions, and the single largest category of financial penalties, stemmed from the practice of off-label promotion of pharmaceuticals – the illegal promotion of a drug for uses not approved by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Off-label promotion can be prosecuted as a criminal offense because of the potential for serious adverse health consequences to patients from such promotional activities. Another major category of federal financial penalties was purposely overcharging for drugs under various federal programs, which constitutes a violation of the FCA.
Here’s the report: (more…)
The U.S. Chamber of Commerce, the anti-regulation mega lobby that plans to spend tens of millions of dollars to support corporate candidates in the coming election, has been accused of tax fraud, according to a complaint filed with the IRS on Friday.
The complaint alleges that the Chamber abused the tax-exempt status of its 501(c)(3) charitable organization, the National Chamber Foundation (NCF), by directing NCF funds to the Chamber for prohibited political activities. Further, the complaint alleges, the NCF money was originally a donation from the Starr Foundation, another 501(c)(3) tax-exempt entity led by the former chair of A.I.G., Maurice Greenberg. The complaint charges that the A.I.G.-affiliated Starr Foundation donated $18 million to the NCF, which was then “loaned” to the Chamber for non-charitable purposes, such as training staff and lobbying for legislation that would benefit A.I.G.
The complaint was filed by U.S. Chamber Watch, whose mission is to “promote greater transparency and accountability in American political processes by shedding light on the funding and practices of the largest special interest lobbyist in America, the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.” The complaint requests that the IRS assess the proper taxes on NCF and the Starr Foundation for the $18 million in expenditures, and revoke the NCF’s tax-exempt status. You can view U.S. Chamber Watch’s complaint here.
Army Sgt. Rosa-La Williams thought she was getting a great deal when she bought a used 2002 BMW 325i from a dealer in Honolulu. It wasn’t until a few weeks later that she found out why the dealer had been so eager to sell the car — Williams learned through the manufacturer that a previous owner had crashed the car into a tree and the engine had caught fire. (more…)