The Real Price of Big Pharma's Huge Fines

Includes: BMY, LLY, PFE, SGP
by: Derek Lowe

There's a long, detailed article up over at Bloomberg on the recent run of huge fines for off-label promotion of drugs. Pfizer (NYSE:PFE), Lilly (NYSE:LLY), Bristol-Meyers Squibb (NYSE:BMY), and Schering-Plough (SGP) all get mentioned in great detail.

And there's a key point from the whole depressing thing: the reason that marketing departments do this kind of thing is that it makes money. Even after you pay a billion dollars in fines, you can still come out ahead, and you might not even have to pay the fines. It's just being put down as a cost of doing business - it's a speeding ticket, and it's being weighed against the cost of driving under the legal limit.

But there's no way that our industry will gain - or regain - respect as long as we operate this way. Have the people involved priced that out as well?