Drug companies have raked in billions of dollars through the use of various marketing, billing and pricing schemes. According to public data, pharmaceutical companies have collected more than $19 billion through pharmaceutical fraud practices that violate federal and state laws such as the Federal and State False Claims Acts and the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute.
These numbers are only the tip of the iceberg, however. Our consumer fraud lawyers believe that pharmaceutical companies engage in a number of other false and fraudulent practices that go undetected each year. These practices cost Americans millions of hard-earned dollars every year.
Types of Pharmaceutical Fraud
Schemes that pharmaceuticals companies use to pad their pockets include (but are not limited to):
- Off-label marketing of drugs: The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) must approve the types of conditions drugs can be used to treat. Federal law restricts drug companies from marketing drugs for the treatment of conditions that are not approved by the FDA. Physicians often prescribe drugs for "off-label" purposes, meaning to treat conditions that have not been FDA approved. While this is not illegal, it is illegal for pharmaceutical companies to market drugs and devices for uses that have not been FDA approved. Many pharmaceutical companies are guilty of marketing drugs for off-label uses.
- Failure to warn of side effects: Many times pharmaceutical companies will try to hide important safety information about drug side effects to protect their bottom lines. If a drug company fails to warn the public about potentially harmful side effects, they may be found guilty of fraud.
- Illegal kickbacks: It is illegal for drug companies to give hospitals and/or physicians money or other financial incentives to get them to prescribe their drugs to patients. Drug companies have been guilty of giving doctors and/or hospitals incentives such as bonus payments, vacations, lavish dinners or lunches, tickets to sporting events, funding for research, free samples of drugs and profitable joint business ventures.
- Personal injury: When drugs are responsible for causing serious personal injury, the makers of the drugs can be held liable, especially if they were aware of the potential side effects.
- Drug pricing fraud: American consumers can file pharmaceutical fraud lawsuits against drug companies for over paying for medications due to price inflation schemes.
Talk to a Consumer Fraud Lawyer
If you believe that you may have been wronged by a pharmaceutical company, you should speak with a consumer fraud lawyer as soon as possible. You may be eligible to join a class action lawsuit or file an individual lawsuit to pursue damages.
Pharmaceutical companies should be helping consumers, not jilting them out of millions of dollars or putting them at risk of injury in an effort to protect their own bottom lines. To learn more about pharmaceutical fraud or to speak with an experienced consumer fraud lawyer about a possible case, contact us today.