- NL Sena
The whistleblower’s exposé led to the pharma giant paying $500 million in fines and settlements in the US.
Dinesh Thakur is a former Ranbaxy executive who blew the whistle on at the pharma giant. An investigation sparked by Thakur’s exposé led to the company paying around $500 million in fines and settlements in the United States. He’s one of the prominent characters in Katherine Eban’s book Bottle of Lies: Ranbaxy and the Dark Side of Indian Pharma, an investigation into the corrupt practices of drug companies.
Thakur speaks to Madhu Trehan about how he found Ranbaxy was committing fraud, the lack of coordination and competence in the company, his role at the pharma giant, the motives behind trying to hide the malpractices once they came to light.
Malpractices in the pharma industry are widespread, Thakur points out. In the US and Europe, he explains, 50-60 percent of the documents submitted by the company to regulators were fraudulent.
How much would it have cost Ranbaxy to fix its problems rather than fool the people? Madhu asks. “There were to be two costs, the opportunity cost of letting go of revenue they were earning,” Thakur says, “and the prospective $10-15 billion hit they would have taken for failing to take advantage of being the first company to put generic versions on the market.”
About the he received as a share of the settlement, he says, “I didn’t even know this kind of a legal framework existed, this was never the intent at all. It was only after I was told to get myself legal representation that I figured out that something like this existed. I have used that money to set up a foundation in India working in RTI, civil liberties and other causes important to me.”
Correction: The article referred to data submitted by Ranbaxy to Indian regulators without giving the full context. This has been corrected. The error is regretted.