Monday, August 27, 2012

Pfizer: Make That Criminal Settlement #10

A not atypical scenario-- while I've been napping over here, the people at Health Care Renewal have been posting a number of important items. You might for example want to read about the hospital CEO who's collected $1.5M in severance pay after wrecking his institution and after one of his VPs was sentenced to jail for (among other things) stealing artwork from the hospital. But in this message I will merely call attention to:

Pfizer, it seems, recently agreed with DOJ and SEC to pay $60M to settle cases involving accusations of foreign bribery, mostly in Eastern Europe:

More on foreign bribery in a moment. Our esteemed colleague Dr. Roy Poses at HCRenewal walks us through the previous instances in the last decade where Pfizer has paid whopping fines (the top one being $2.3B) to settle cases involving fraud and other criminal matters--making this latest #10 on the list.

Dr. Poses goes on:

Yet the company has not failed or been restructured, and none of its leaders has ever faced any negative consequences. In fact, last year its CEO made over $18 million, up from over $6 million the year before...

So obviously it is not just that one company's culture has become seriously corrupt. We seem to live in such a corrupt nation, and maybe such a corrupt global society that such corrupt cultures thrive in our major corporations and organizations. Despite stories like this in health care, just like in finance despite the global financial collapse, as Charles Ferguson said at the Oscar awards last year, " not a single ... executive has gone to jail, and that's wrong."

Back to foreign bribery-- when I was writing HOOKED, one of the first books I came across in my research was a 1984 volume by an Australian sociologist of business, John Braithwaite, with the telling title, Corporate Crime in the Pharmaceutial Industry. Much of the corporate crime Braithwaite documented was overseas and involved countries where official corruption was rampant and where US corporations figured it was just a cost of doing business to pay bribes to officials. Silly me--I had imagined that since Braithwaite first wrote, laws had tightened up, reforms had occurred, and companies maybe now had a cleaner track record overseas. Silly me.


watchdog on science said...

The only way to stop these unethical companies is through a campaign to initiate a public boycott. Revolving door policy amongst the power players in our government and corporate America make for such a robust conflict of interest that the government becomes infiltrated with bad actors, bad policy and bad decisions that do not protect the public.

Boycott Pfizer drugs and products. And spread the word to do so.

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