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The lawsuits have challenged the work ethic of the pharmaceutical industry, within which Novartis and Purdue Pharma are key players
This year, the International Health Day will be held in the midst of a controversy regarding the work ethic of pharmaceutical companies, after Purdue Pharma and Novartis were involved in legal scandals for unethical practices.
Earlier this week Purdue Pharma, the OxyContin-based company based in Stamford, Connecticut, reached an agreement with the state of Oklahoma, following a lawsuit accusing the company of fomenting an opioid epidemic, which led to fatal losses in the state.
According to CBS, "Drugs such as OxyContin, along with illegal opioids such as heroin, were linked to a record of 48,000 deaths in the United States in 2017, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. In Oklahoma, about 400 deaths were related to opioids that year, according to state figures, in the last decade, more Oklahomans have died from opiates than in car accidents."
According to Oklahoma's Attorney General, the agreement reached with the company was for USD $ 270 million. Of this figure, $ 200 million would be earmarked for the creation of a National Center for Addiction Studies and Treatment at the Oklahoma State University in Tulsa and another 20 million will be used in the research and production of medications for the treatment of addiction. The remaining money will be divided among local governments and used to cover the costs of state litigation.
In addition to this demand, the company faces around 1000 lawsuits related to this same crisis.
For its part, the Swiss company Novartis AG, producer of medicines such as Voltaren and Ritalin, faces a lawsuit against the US government, that accuses the company of paying millions of dollars in bribes to different doctors to prescribe their medications. According to the Newsmax website, "US District Judge Paul Gardephe in Manhattan also rejected the Swiss drug maker's attempt to keep key government evidence from the case and ruled that the government does not have to demonstrate a direct quid pro quo agreement between Novartis and the doctors, so that the company is responsible". In this sense, everything seems to indicate that the case will be brought to trial unless the pharmaceutical company decides to conciliate.
Which company is a good representative?
However, not everything is bad news for the sector. In the last business reputation report conducted by Business Insider, there were some pharmaceutical companies that stood out for their work ethic.
First, there is the French-German pharmaceutical Sanofi, one of the largest in the world. According to the report, this company stands out for its promotion of ethics and transparency. An example of this is the transparency reports that it makes regarding the general costs of its medicines and the commitment of the last years to lower the price increase.
Roche's subsidiary, Genentech, is also on the list for its research into new ways to treat Alzheimer's efficiently from intestinal bacteria.
Another leading pharmaceutical company is the American McKesson, which, in addition to providing medicines, distributes medical supplies, artificial intelligence, and administration tools. This company is on the list for its recent 10% reduction in the salary of its CEO after complaints from investors.
LatinAmerican Post | Sofía Carreño
Translated from "La industria farmacéutica en problemas: dos grandes enfrentan demandas"