The July 6 edition of the St. Louis Business Journal quoted partner Jan Paul Miller in a story on GlaxoKlineSmith’s historic $3 billion settlement with the U.S. Department of Justice.
The massive size of the settlement is quite unusual, Miller told the Business Journal [subscription required]. He urged businesses to proactively address any compliance issues if they want to avoid similarly large settlements.
A federal prosecutor in Illinois and Maryland for 17 years, Miller led several investigations into health care entities. Now a partner in Thompson Coburn's Business Litigation group, Miller helps businesses of all types anticipate and respond proactively to government investigations and inquiries.
As part of the settlement, GSK agreed to plead guilty to criminal charges that it engaged in illegal schemes related to the marketing and pricing of its drugs, including the anti-diabetic drug Avandia, the depression drugs Wellbutrin and Paxil, and the asthma drug Advair.
Such criminal charges show “very strong evidence on the government’s part and recognition by the company of significant exposure,” Miller said.
Miller, who helps companies create compliance programs or improve existing controls, told the Business Journal that companies should take a proactive approach to compliance to avoid such massive government fines and settlements.
“You have to have a very strong, vibrant compliance program in place,” Miller said. If violations do come to light, come clean to the government before whistleblowers do, he said.