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Question: Who paid the largest criminal fine in history?

Pharmaceuticals — up to $US 3 billion (£2 billion)

Big pharma companies have had their fair share of expensive fines, mainly for advertising the use of drugs for purposes not approved by government, called ‘off-label marketing’.

In 2012, GlaxoKlineSmith paid £782 million in criminal damages for failure to disclose safety data and off-label marketing and £1.45 billion in civil charges.

The case covered a variety of miss-marketed drugs including antidiabetic, Avandia.


In 2009 the company paid a $2.3 billion fine for false claims in one of the biggest fraud settlements in US history.

Pfizer Inc. pleaded guilty to a U.S. criminal charge relating to promotion of its now-withdrawn Bextra pain medicine.

The world’s biggest drugmaker was slapped with huge fines by the U.S. government after being deemed a repeat offender in pitching drugs to patients and doctors for unapproved uses.

Pfizer’s marketing team promoted Bextra for acute pain, surgical pain and other unapproved uses, while its salesforce promoted the drug directly to doctors for those unapproved uses and dosages, according to the U.S. Department of Justice.

In 2013 Johnson & Johnson paid $1.4 billion for the same offence.

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