Heath Care Frauds: The GlaxoSmithKline Case
In the health care industry ethics assume a special value and importance, since any neglect of ethics mostly results in very serious consequences. Every year we get to learn that billions are recovered by the government in health care frauds. Health care fraud may happen in various forms. The industry is replete with such examples, ranging from illegal prescription drug sales to overbilling for services. The use of Medicare Frauds Strike Force has been increased by the Obama administration and in many cases government has recovered quite a very large sum. These cases have put a question mark on the ethics of even some big and sophisticated names in the industry. The cases that have come to light have brought influential names under the scanner.
Among such cases that we come across, those involving the biggest sums are the kickback cases. Towards their prevention, the government has enacted several laws. At first, it is important to note that kickbacks are considered a type of health care fraud. Any kind of gift or monetary reward offered to influence prescription or to induce wrongful prescription of drugs is said to be kickback. However, it is not generally possible to prevent such cases fully since it is allowed to a certain level allowed in the pharmaceutical business. This factor also gives rise to a loophole in the implication and punishment mechanism.
The government has enacted some laws in this direction to prevent these frauds. The most important among them are the Federal Anti-Kickback Statute (“AKS”), the False Claims Act, and the Stark Law. The Anti Kickback statute prohibits any kind of willful solicitation or acceptance of remuneration to induce recommendations for health services. The government had started taking action and targeting such companies since as early as the 1970’s. However, the problem with such laws is that each one is quite complex and has regulatory safe harbors. Due to