Chapter 9: A responsive criminal law of pharmaceuticals
We have argued that unethical, reckless, fraudulent conduct in the pharmaceutical industry should be made more vulnerable to the criminal law. The pharmaceutical industry should be more accountable to the criminal law because there is a massive corporate crime problem here that causes more harm than all the crime problems currently dealt with by the police. More fundamentally than that, we wish to ensure this vulnerability to the criminal law because we believe (based on the numbers discussed in Chapter 7) that it can work by saving millions of lives worldwide among our generation’s children and grandchildren. The criminal law has profound symbolic power in all societies. John Braithwaite saw this power in action during his decade as a part-time Commissioner with Australia’s national antitrust and consumer protection agency. He would see the shock when during a restorative justice conference he put the question: “Gentlemen,are we taking this seriously enough?” and then added emphatically: “What we are talking about here is a crime.” Having in this way gripped the attention of the participants, he and his colleagues then preferred to deal with the issue at hand as a problem to be solved, with consumers to be compensated and compliance systems calling for improvement, rather than as a matter of devising and implementing appropriate punishment.
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