The British drug-maker GlaxoSmithKline agreed to pay $3 billion to settle claims related to illegal marketing of drugs. The U.S. government’s civil and criminal investigations of Glaxo related to multiple different drugs. The settlement includes resolution of allegations that Glaxo improperly marketed the drug Avandia, a drug whose use was severely restricted after studies indicated it is linked to heart risks. The $3 billion settlement to resolve criminal and civil investigations represents the largest such settlement ever reached, surpassing the $2.3 billion paid by Pfizer last year.
The claims against Glaxo are representative of numerous claims against drug companies. Settlements with pharmaceutical companies represented roughly 80 percent of the $4 billion in overcharges the federal government recovered in 2010.