WASHINGTON British drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline said on Monday it agreed to pay $3 billion in U.S. fines for illegally promoting its antidepressant drugs Paxil and Wellbutrin for unapproved uses, and for failing to report safety data about its diabetes drug Avandia. The settlement represents the largest ever in the drug industry, topping the $2.3 billion in fines paid by Pfizer on similar charges in 2009.
Here are some of the largest prosecutions of the last 10 years:
* Pfizer Inc in 2009 pleaded guilty to a U.S. criminal charge relating to promotion of its now-withdrawn Bextra pain medicine and agreed to pay a record $2.3 billion to settle allegations it improperly marketed 13 drugs.
* Eli Lilly and Co in January 2009 said it would pay $1.42 billion to settle probes into selling its Zyprexa schizophrenia drug for unapproved uses, a practice known as "off-label" marketing. Lilly agreed to plead guilty to a federal misdemeanor.
* Merck & Co in February 2008 reached an agreement to pay more than $650 million to resolve allegations that it failed to pay Medicaid and other government healthcare programs owed rebates for cholesterol drug Zocor and pain reliever Vioxx. The company also settled charges that it paid kickbacks to healthcare providers so they would prescribe its drugs.
* Bristol-Myers Squibb agreed in September 2007 to pay more than $510 million to settle charges of illegal marketing and pricing for its products. That included allegations that the company paid and offered gifts to doctors and healthcare providers to entice them to buy their drugs and also promoted certain medicines for uses that were not approved by the Food and Drug Administration.
* Cephalon agreed in September 2008 to pay $425 million to settle allegations that it marketed three drugs for uses that were not approved. (Reporting by Toni Clarke; Editing by Cynthia Osterman)