According to WHO (World Health Organization) the global pharmaceutical market is worth $300 billion per year. This number is projected to rise even higher to $400 billion per year within the next three years.
Large pharmaceutical companies currently spend 1/3 of all of their sales revenue on marketing their products. This equates to about twice the amount that they spend on research and development.
There are More Deaths from Legal Drugs than Illegal Drugs!
Everyone knows that illegal drugs can cause addiction, death and brain damage. However, the much less well known truth is that many more people are addicted to and die from their use of legal drugs than those who take illegal drugs.
Following are some facts about legal drugs in the United States today:
- 11% of Americans ages 12 and older now use prescribed anti-depressant/-psychotic drugs. (CDC November 2011 report) Psychotropic drugs are now the number one class of drugs prescribed in the United States
- At least 106,000 people die each year from drugs which are properly prescribed and properly administered. More than two million suffer serious side effects. (Lazarou J, Pomeranz BH, Corey PN: “Incidence of adverse drug reactions in hospitalized patients.” JAMA 1998;279:1200.
Illegal drug use, including that of cocaine and heroin, are responsible for an estimated 10,000-20,000 American deaths per year. (Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report. CDC. 2007;56(05):93-96.)
Why Suing Pharmaceutical Companies Isn’t Changing Anything
There have been many lawsuits over the past few years over Zoloft (birth defects when taken by pregnant women), Xarelto & Pradaxa (uncontrollable, often fatal, bleeding events), testosterone (increased risk of strokes and heart attacks), Actos (risk of bladder cancer) and the list goes on, and on… Why aren’t these companies changing their research and development methods and really analyzing the negative effects of the product that they are providing to the American people?
First let’s look at the amounts they are being sued for:
- Paxil’s manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) paid $3B in fines due to illegally promoting the drug for use with children and teens (despite clinical proof that it not only doesn’t work, but also increases the risk of suicidal thoughts).
- Actos, a diabetes drug manufactured by Takeda, which coughed up $2.34B in settlements.
- Pfizer continues to pay to defend against Zoloft This drug is used to treat depression and anxiety.
- Bayer and Johnson & Johnson are paying to defend suits against Xarelto – which causes uncontrollable bleeding.
A look at settlement amounts:
- 2012: Bayer settles for $110M over claims that the oral contraceptive, Yasmin, caused fatal blood clots. 2013 Revenue taken from Bayer’s financial report was $24.17 billion. Bayer is 9th on the list of Top Pharmaceutical Companies
- 2010: Avandia’s manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) pays $460M to settle 10,000 suits claiming its diabetes drug increased heart attack risks. Additionally they have agreed to pay a criminal fine in the amount of $242,612,800 for its unlawful conduct concerning Avandia. GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) who is 7th on the list of Top Pharmaceutical Companies with an annual sales revenue of $26.51 Billion in 2013 and $23.01 Billion in 2014.
- 2008: Vioxx manufactured by Merck & Co settles claims that its painkiller caused strokes and heart attacks for $4.85B. Merck & Co is 6th on the list of Top Pharmaceutical Companies. 2014 Revenue taken from Merck & Co.’s financial report was $42.2 billion.
If you look at the numbers, Pharmaceutical Companies are still making huge profits in spite of the money they are paying out for dangerous drugs and wrongful death suits.
Bayer lost $110 million from suits against them for Yasmin. Out of $24.17 billion in sales, this is small change.
GlaxoSmithKline settled for a total of $460 million (10,000 suits) and $242,612,800 in fines. However out of a sales margin of over $20 billion dollars – again just a drop in the bucket.
Merck & Co settled for $4.85 billion, however, again, out of $42.2 billion in sales, this number likely did not deter them.
This is why these companies are able to continue to grow at such a rapid pace. A slap on the wrist is all that they receive, along with a warning from the FDA.
Why do Doctors promote and prescribe these medications?
Quite simply Doctors are paid a boat load of money by the pharmaceutical industry to sell their drugs.
During the last five months of 2013, Brilinta’s manufacturer, AstraZeneca, who is #8 on the list of top pharmaceutical manufacturers, made 63 payments to doctors, totaling $282,000 in consulting fees. Novo Nordisk, the makers of the most aggressively promoted drug on their list, Type-2 diabetes drug Victoza, spent $816,000 on consulting (doled out in 166 payments).
Profit is why. Regardless of the side effects, some doctors are taking payments to prescribe these less than desirable medications.
If you or someone that you love has been negatively affected or killed by a prescription drug, you may well have a very strong case.
This is a growing problem in our country and it is a problem that Parrish Law Firm, PLLC feels strongly about. We care and we can help.
Parrish Law Firm, PLLC Personal Injury Attorney, located in Manassas and Fairfax works with Northern Virginia citizens who have suffered and are looking for fair compensation for their suffering. Contact us today for a free case consultation, or call us at 703-906-4229.
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A representative of the Parrish Law Firm, PLLC researched and wrote this article with Mr. Parrish’s consent. If you have any questions regarding the legal implications of what you have just read, please send us your question by clicking here so we can have our attorney review it.