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Viewpoint - July 5, 2012

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Friends, I realize this is not related to the Middle East, but it is a story every person in the world should be aware of. We must come to understand that the pharmaceutical industry is ruthless and will do anything to get you ingesting their drugs regularly. And the anti-depressants are PERFECT for them. You take them every single day of every single month of every single year. And these doctors that prescribe this garbage should be put up on review to see just how many scripts they've written, and to whom.

"Happy, horny, skinny pill" indeed.

*-- GlaxoSmithKline agrees to $3B settlement --*

WASHINGTON - Drug giant GlaxoSmithKline agreed to plead guilty and pay $3 billion in the largest settlement of healthcare fraud in U.S. history, the Justice Department said.

The settlement will resolve criminal and civil liability from the company's promotion of the misbranded prescription antidepressants Paxil and Wellbutrin, and failing to report safety data about diabetes drug Avandia, the Justice Department said Monday in a release.

The criminal complaints total $1 billion. GlaxoSmithKline also will pay $2 billion to settle civil liabilities for Paxil, Wellbutrin and Avandia, some other drugs and allegations of pricing fraud.

GlaxoSmithKline, based in London, agreed to plead guilty to a three-count criminal indictment, including two counts of introducing misbranded Paxil and Wellbutrin into the market and one count of failing to report safety information about Avandia to the Food and Drug Administration, the department said.

The plea agreement also includes "certain non-monetary compliance commitments and certifications by GSK's U.S. president and board of directors," the Justice Department said in the release.

GlaxoSmithKlines's guilty plea and sentence isn't final until it is accepted by the U.S. District Court.

"Today's multibillion dollar settlement is unprecedented in both size and scope. It underscores the [Obama] administration's firm commitment to protecting the American people and holding accountable those who commit health care fraud," Deputy Attorney General James M. Cole said. "At every level, we are determined to stop practices that jeopardize patients' health, harm taxpayers, and violate the public trust -- and this historic action is a clear warning to any company that chooses to break the law."

Besides the criminal and civil resolutions, GlaxoSmithKline also will enter a five-year Corporate Integrity Agreement with the Inspector General, including how its sales force is compensated to remove goal-driven pay. The company also would change its executive compensation schedule so the company can recoup annual bonuses and long-term incentives from specified executives if they or their subordinates engage in significant misconduct.

Although the activities covered by this settlement largely occurred years ago, we must learn from the past. And we have," Deirdre Connelly, president of the company's North America Pharmaceuticals, said in a statement. "As we move forward, we remain committed to appropriately informing healthcare providers about our medicines ... so that patients receive the care they need to maintain and improve their health.

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