WASHINGTON, D.C. -- In the largest health care fraud settlement in U.S history, drug maker Glaxo Smith Kline has agreed to plead guilty to misdemeanor criminal charges and pay $3 billion.
The penalty is for fraud in how the GSK promoted popular drugs - Paxil and Wellbutrin - and for not warning diabetic patients taking Avandia about heart risks.
"Between 50 and 100 thousand diabetics had unnecessary heart attacks or death due to Avandia," said Dr. Steven Nissen, Cleveland Clinic Cardiologist. "This drug hurt a lot of people."
GSK CEO Sir Andrew Witty released a statement saying, "I want to express our regret and reiterate that we have learnt from the mistakes that were made."
As part of the settlement, Glaxo Smith Kline agreed to strict oversight of its sales force by the U.S. government to prevent the use of kickbacks or other prohibited practices.