Some of the companies currently facing major litigation over defective and dangerous products include Fresenius, maker of Granuflo, the dialysis drug, Stryker, a manufactuer of hip implants, and Boehringer-Ingelheim, which produces the stroke medication Pradaxa. We have brought you stories about the current cases against these and other big pharmaceutical and medical device companies. What you may not realize is that for many of these corporate thugs, it is not the first time.
Far from it.
For example, on 25 October 2012, Boehringer-Ingelheim agreed to pay $95 million to settle a case brought against the company by the U.S. Department of Justice in which BI allegedly “promoted each of the three drugs for uses that were not medically accepted indications and were not covered by federal health care programs.” Because of this misrepresentation, false claims were submitted to Medicare and Medicaid.
In March of 2012, hip-implant manufacturer Biomet was charged with violating the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act (FPCA) by the Securities and Exchange Commission. The company is alleged to have bribed doctors in Latin America and China for the past decade in order to secure business. Biomet agreed to pay over $5.57 million in fines and interest.
In May 2011, Fresenius paid fines to the U.S. government in excess of $82.6 million for fraudulently billing the Medicare program for home dialysis supplies and equipment over a six year period between 1999 and 2005.
Now, let's put these figures in perspective.
During the first half of 2012, Boehringer-Ingelheim revenue totaled $4.27 billion.
By the third quarter of 2012, earnings for Biomet were up to $702 million.
In 2011, Fresenius sale figures were nearly $3.5 billion.
For defrauding U.S. taxpayers out of hundreds of millions of dollars, Boehringer-Ingelheim and Fresenius paid 2% of the figures mentioned above (remember, these aren't for the whole year). For allegedly violating the FPCA, Biomet paid a mere 008. % of its total revenue for that year. That is eight-tenths of one percent. It is essentially as if you had one hundred dollars and were fined eighty cents by the government for committing a felony.
And by the way – not one executive went to jail.
Is it any wonder these corporations continue to push products that injure and main and kill people? The people at these corporations are fully aware of what their products do. They simply calculate their profits against what they might have to pay out in fines and judgments – and write it off as a cost of doing business.
It's worse than that. If you regularly listen to Ring of Fire Radio on the weekend, you recently heard a shocking interview that Mr. Pappantonio conducted with investigative health reporter Martha Rosenberg. If you missed that interview, you can read Ms. Rosenberg's report on AlterNet – and you'll gain a whole new appreciation of how utterly contemptible and devoid of humanity those who profit from America's sorry, sick excuse for a health care “system” truly are.
Just make certain you have a strong stomach before you read it.
Boehringer-Ingelheim. “Boehringer Ingelheim achieves further growth in first half of 2012.” Company Press Release, 14 August 2012. Available at http://www.boehringer-ingelheim.com/news/news_releases/press_releases/2012/14_august_2012_firsthalf.html.
N/A. “BIOMET ANNOUNCES THIRD QUARTER OF FISCAL YEAR 2012 FINANCIAL RESULTS.” Company Press Release, 11 April 2012. Available at http://www.biomet.com/news/getFile.cfm?id=228&rt=inline&type=pr .
N/A. “Boehringer Ingelheim to Pay $95 Million to Resolve False Claims Act Allegations.” U.S. Department of Justice, 25 October 2012. Available at http://www.justice.gov/opa/pr/2012/October/12-civ-1291.html.
N/A. CORRECTED-BRIEF-Fresenius says 2011 net profit up 17% at 770 Million Euros.” Via Reuters, 21 February 2012. Available at http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/02/21/freseniusseandcokgaa-results-idUSWEA263920120221.
N/A. “SEC Charges Medical Device Company Biomet with Foreign Bribery.” Securities and Exchange Commission, 26 March 2012. Available at http://www.sec.gov/News/PressRelease/Detail/PressRelease/1365171487958.
Staff. “Medicare Fraud Whistleblower Lawsuit Earns U.S. $82 Million.” Kansas City Infozine, 27 May 2011. Available at http://www.infozine.com/news/stories/op/storiesView/sid/47599/.