Last week one of my favorite shows (Leverage) featured a bad guy CEO at a pharmaceutical company. When he was told by one of the Leverage team that the FDA fined another pharmaceutical company over $2 billion for a bad drug he replied that they made $16 billion in profits so the fine only amounted to about 15%. He added "that's like tipping your waiter."
This week we read the news that the risks of Avania have been known and hidden by the manufacturer from the FDA and the public since 1999. When I read that GlaxoSmithKline had agreed to pay $460 million to resolve the majority of lawsuits they face I was reminded of the TV show. Sales for all drugs containing Avandia in 2008 alone were $1.5 billion.
Apparently GSK is willing to "tip the waiter" for selling Avandia.
And the pharmaceutical industry wonders why the public is suspicious of their drugs?