Pharmaceuticals, Corporate Crime and Public Health

Pharmaceuticals, Corporate Crime and Public Health

Graham Dukes, John Braithwaite and J. P. Moloney

The pharmaceutical industry exists to serve the community, but over the years it has engaged massively in corporate crime, with the public footing the bill. This readable study by experts in medicine, law, criminology and public health documents the problems, ranging from false advertising and counterfeiting to corruption waste and overpricing, with unacceptable pressures on doctors, politicians, patients and the media. Uniquely, the book goes on to present a realistic and worldwide solution for the future, with positive policies encouraging honest dealing as well as partial privatization of enforcement and greater emphasis on creative research to develop the medicines that society needs most.

Chapter 10: Privatizing enforcement

Graham Dukes, John Braithwaite and J. P. Moloney

Subjects: law - academic, biotechnology and pharmaceutical law, health law, social policy and sociology, health policy and economics


In their writings of recent decades, Graham Dukes and John Braithwaite have both argued that tort law has proved to be more effective in controlling corporate crime in the pharmaceutical industry than has criminal law. They are now more doubtful about the accomplishments of purely privatized enforcement by victims based on tort. When Braithwaite was writing Corporate Crime in the Pharmaceutical Industry in the early 1980s, there had still been very little criminal enforcement directed against pharmaceutical companies, even for the most egregious of criminal conduct he documented. Yet there had been some tort cases in which discovery of documents by lawyers working for patients who sued for drug-induced injuries revealed recklessness and major fraud by multinational corporations. In some of these cases the punitive damages imposed by the courts were much higher than could ever be attained in the criminal cases of that era. In the three decades since then, pharmaceutical industry profits have increased much more steeply than worldwide tort settlements, to the point where the occasional need for a secretive tort settlement with an injured patient has become an acceptable cost of doing business.

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