The Real Statistics of US Drug Lawsuit Settlements

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The United States has a reputation for an overly-litigious citizenry, but this is a largely inaccurate representation. In fact, citizens who file lawsuits against large businesses and corporations often find themselves overwhelmed by the cost, time, and endless red-tape of the legal process. However, in some cases, individuals and groups are able to settle their lawsuits against larger businesses, even those in the pharmaceutical industry. To better understand drug lawsuit settlements in the US, let’s take a look at the real statistics surrounding lawsuits against pharmaceutical companies.

5 Successful Drug Lawsuit Settlements and Their Outcomes


First, we’ll begin with one of the largest settlements ever reached against a pharmaceutical company. In 2012, several civil and criminal claims were filed against the pharmaceutical giant, GlaxoSmithKline. While the details of the case were very complex, it basically came down to the company’s lies and misleading statements about some of its top drugs. In the end, GlaxoSmithKline was forced to pay out $3 billion.


Pfizer is a huge multinational pharmaceutical company based in New York City. It has consistently been one of the most profitable companies in its industry for decades. However, some of these profits were the result of unethical business practices. In 2009, Pfizer was found to be operating in violation of the False Claims Act and the Federal Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act. More specifically, Pfizer was found guilty of off-label promotion and kickbacks, two of the most common violations by large corporations. Once the lawsuit came to a close, Pfizer paid out $2.3 billion.

Johnson & Johnson

Johnson & Johnson is one of the largest worldwide providers of packaged goods, medical equipment, and various drugs. However, in 2013, Johnson & Johnson was forced to pay out a huge drug lawsuit settlement after several watchdog groups discovered their practice of off-label promotion and unethical kickbacks. Once it was all said and done, Johnson & Johnson was required to pay $2.2 billion.

TAP Pharmaceutical Products

Not every pharmaceutical company is guilty of off-label promotion. In some cases, their crimes have a much greater impact on regular Americans. In the case of TAP Pharmaceutical Products, the violations were far more sinister. In 2001, the government discovered that TAP Pharmaceutical Products had committed Medicare fraud and illegal kickbacks. This fraud affected millions of elderly citizens who rely on Medicare benefits. Despite the severity of the charge, TAP Pharmaceutical Products only had to pay out $875 million for the settlement.


Sometimes, pharmaceutical companies are just bad at doing their jobs. In 2002, Schering-Plough was found guilty of poor manufacturing practices. This had a negative impact on the quality of drugs they were putting out on the market. As a result, Schering-Plough had to pay $500 million.