Drug company pays fine for false advertising

There's a lot of pressure on businesses to come up with unique and memorable ways to market their products. However, the language and imagery they use needs to be grounded in fact so that no one feels deceived.

The costs can be dire if that is the case, as drug manufacturer GlaxoSmithKline PLC is discovering. This company, according to the Associated Press, is facing more than $100 million in fines for more than 40 states due to advertising that wrongly portrayed the effects of medications like Wellbutrin and Paxil.

In the case of the former, the Albany Business Review reports that it was marketed as a pill that would cure multiple conditions in addition to combating depression. The company also is said to have advocated the use of these drugs for purposes that were not approved by the government, and may have bribed people to do so.

The Review quoted Eric Schneiderman, the New York State Attorney General, who summed up the lack of ethics on display in this case.

"When pharmaceutical companies advertise drugs to consumers, their claims should be backed by the best available science, not just slick marketing," he said.

But how can companies balance the need for "slick marketing" with honest and direct statements? It can be present in all of the physical pieces of marketing that you depend upon: custom made signs should be easy to read and apply, but shouldn't contain even a word that might give the customer the wrong idea.

This is why a flexible company that considers your business' needs is worth the extra time and investment in the long run, especially if it prevents a lawsuit of this magnitude.