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3 pharmaceutical companies who have had to pay out large sums of money

Big Pharma is one of the biggest industries in the world, with a massive proportion of their revenue coming from the US. Pharmaceutical companies are so large that they may seem to be untouchable. Furthermore, medications can be inherently dangerous so it may be difficult to see where they could be found responsible for someone’s misuse or untimely death. With our health in their hands, we want to be able to trust them. Despite this, there are several circumstances where they have been found to be negligent or even found to have intent. 

There have been several examples of big pharma being made to pay out large sums of money. A prominent example of this making headlines right now is Johnson and Johnson’s talcum powder which has been linked by some to ovarian cancer. Johnson and Johnson is one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies and have been made to pay out large sums of money in recent years. Other companies are Purdue Pharma and GlaxoSmithKline. These companies are so large that despite paying out billions in lawsuits they remain big players in the pharmaceutical industry. 

Purdue Pharma

Purdue Pharma has offered to settle more than 2000 lawsuits with payouts equalling $10-12 billion over opioid claims.  Purdue Pharma makes the opioid painkiller Oxycontin. The opioid epidemic in the US has resulted in millions of people suffering from addictions and hundreds of thousands of deaths. People are angry and want answers as to how this was allowed to happen. Many were prescribed opioid-based painkillers unnecessarily or without being properly warned of the risks. This has resulted in many lawsuits against several big pharma companies. Purdue Pharma is just one of them. 

Johnson and Johnson’s

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Johnson and Johnson have had lots of lawsuits made against them in recent years for their pharmaceutical products as well as their talcum powder. Other lawsuits they have suffered are for things such as faulty hip replacements and the overselling of opioids and antipsychotic medication. The estimated amount they will have to pay out is $20 billion. An unfathomable amount of money and yet they are so big that they are likely to survive all the lawsuits and continue to make new products.


The biggest single lawsuit on a pharmaceutical company was made against GlaxoSmithKline who paid out $3 billion in 2012. They were unlawfully promoting prescription drugs for unapproved uses including Wellbutrin, Paxil, and Avandia. These drugs were misbranded, and they were not upfront over the risks of the drugs. For example, Avandia was a diabetes drug that had potential cardiovascular implications. 


Many of the biggest pharmaceutical companies have had lawsuits filed against them in recent years. This should mean that going forward they are more transparent and honest about their products. However, as consumers, we must also be aware of our own health and take steps to protect ourselves. If you have any concerns over any medications that you or your family are taking then you should consult with your doctor. 

The Editorial Team at Healthcare Business Today is made up of skilled healthcare writers and experts, led by our managing editor, Daniel Casciato, who has over 25 years of experience in healthcare writing. Since 1998, we have produced compelling and informative content for numerous publications, establishing ourselves as a trusted resource for health and wellness information. We offer readers access to fresh health, medicine, science, and technology developments and the latest in patient news, emphasizing how these developments affect our lives.

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