Two top executives at GSK who put into the action the off label promotion of Advair are no longer with the company. One of the executives is currently chairman of Swiss pharmaceutical company Actelion Ltd and the other is currently Chief Operating Officer (CEO) of Sanofi based in France. Although cited in the largest healthcare fraud case, they weren’t sued and no formal charges were brought against them.
Advair was promoted from 2001 through 2010 for all asthma patients despite only being approved for use by the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) as a first line therapy for patients with severe asthma.
Advair was just one of the drugs that were the subject of the record $3 billion criminal fine and civil settlement announced a few days ago between the Department of Justice and GSK.
Considering the amount that these pharmaceutical companies make from these drugs, it still remains to be seen whether these settlements act to deter improper marketing and promotion.
Only time will tell.