During the early 20th Century, many US law enforcement agencies were corrupted by local gambling and prostitution. Vice squads often made arrangements with crime rings, organizing raids against carefully selected racketeers and competitors who refused to kick back profits to corrupt officials. By staging these raids, law enforcement demonstrated their “willingness to enforce the law” while allowing profitable criminal operations to remain active.
Except for the scale, there’s little difference between those arrangements and the ongoing criminal enterprises that now exist within the pharmaceutical and biotechnology industry.
As Bloomberg reported in 2009:
Since 2004, Pfizer Inc.,, Eli Lilly & Co., Bristol-Myers Squibb Co. and four other drug companies have paid a total of $7 billion in fines and penalties. Six of the companies admitted in court that they marketed medicines for unapproved uses.
In September 2007, New York-based Bristol-Myers paid $515 million — without admitting or denying wrongdoing — to federal and state governments in a civil lawsuit brought by the Justice Department. The six other companies pleaded guilty in criminal cases.
In January 2009, Indianapolis-based Lilly, the largest U.S. psychiatric drug maker, pleaded guilty and paid $1.42 billion in fines and penalties to settle charges that it had for at least four years illegally marketed Zyprexa, a drug approved for the treatment of schizophrenia, as a remedy for dementia in elderly patients. Bloomberg (2009)
When a company like Tenet Healthcare or Pfizer earns $6 billion a year from one criminal operation, isn’t a $1 billion fine and $2 billion is civil liabilities something akin to the “cost of doing business?”
And if the pharmaceutical industry is policed by FDA, NIH, CDC or Justice Department officials whose political overseers rely on the pharmaceutical industry for campaign contributions or lucrative lobbying positions, what’s the likelihood that they will change their ways?
The record also shows that local, state and federal law enforcement agencies are either complicit or incompetent in these cases and usually refer the complainant back to the agencies involved. Because of the political nature of these arrangements, insiders who risk reporting these crimes often face retaliation, false charges, termination and financial ruin.
OMSJ was created so that industry insiders have a place to report corruption without fear of retaliation. OMSJ investigates cases fairly and discretely to minimize the risks that come with reporting to the agencies involved.
If you have evidence of criminal or unethical behavior within your agency or research facility but are afraid to report it…