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Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection

This month pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline was found guilty of two counts of introducing misbranded antidepressant drugs Paxil and Wellbutrin to interstate commerce and one count of failing to report safety data about the diabetes drug Avandia to the FDA. The final settlement that the company agreed to – a whopping $3 billion – makes it the largest case of health care fraud in U.S. history. However, record-breaking settlements mean little if the deception continues; advertising fraud is still on the rise in the United States. Corporations frequently hire public relations teams to fabricate stories and confuse consumers about the true nature of their products. Besides immoral, these illegal practices can turn deadly when patients are not informed of the side effects that a certain drug may have.

As the Federal Trade Commission’s Bureau of Consumer Protection, you work to protect consumers from fraudulent and unfair business practices in the marketplace. We need you to up the ante when it comes to deterring large corporations from mis-branding their products in order to turn a profit. We ask that you pass new regulations to deter this criminals practice once and for all! The only way to protect ourselves and our children and stop the rampant fraud of big pharmaceutical corporations is to send those responsible, company CEO’s, to jail for their criminal actions.


Justin Michael

This petition closed over 5 years ago

How this will help

Earlier this month British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) plead guilty to inappropriately marketing its antidepressant drug Paxil as well as Wellbutrin; for withholding information...

Earlier this month British pharmaceutical company GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) plead guilty to inappropriately marketing its antidepressant drug Paxil as well as Wellbutrin; for withholding information on the cardiovascular risks of Avandia (a diabetes drug that has been shown to cause heart attacks); and for promoting Advair (an inhaled lung drug) to patients with mild asthma that the medication was not approved for. The U.S. Department of Justice struck GSK with $3 billion in criminal and civil fines - the largest ever imposed by the U.S. on a pharmaceutical company.

Though it may seem like a lot, it turns out that while GSK mislead patients about its drugs, the company racked in a near $27.5 billion on its antidepressants alone. These figures have many analysts wondering if huge fines actually deter corporate fraud, or merely serve as yet another "cost of doing business". Unethical as it may be, time and again huge pharma criminals deceive the public, take the government's "slap on the wrist," and carry on with similar underhanded practices. For instance, in 2010 the Federal Trade Commission sued the infamous pomegranate juice manufacturer POM Wonderful for making false medical claims on the ability of its product to cure prostate cancer. After the judge's ruling, and paying the hefty settlement fee, POM continued to thrive as a company.

Clearly, huge settlements do not stop multinational pharmaceutical companies from marketing unethically and endangering the health of countless Americans. While winning lawsuits is a first step, what really matters is changing these deceptive corporate policies once and for all. Unless we hold specific individuals accountable for their actions, wealthy corporations will continue to turn profits by knowingly selling drugs that can harm people rather than help them. The Federal Trade Commission's Bureau of Consumer Affairs claims to protect consumers from these type of fraudulent marketing attacks – it's time this regulatory body cracked down on the true masterminds of these crimes: company executives and CEO's. Just as drug users and dealers serve jail time for their actions, the heads of pharmaceutical companies that sell fraudulent drugs should be punished for their actions.


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