Corporations need penalties that hurt

In the Los Angeles Times, Michael Hiltzik writes, “If you’re concerned about corporate crime, 2012 looked like a pretty successful year for the good guys.” The Thousand Oaks biotech giant Amgen paid $762 million in fines and penalties and pleaded guilty to a federal charge related to illegal marketing of its anemia drug Aranesp. Britain’s GlaxoSmithKline and Illinois-based Abbott Laboratories paid $3 billion and $1.5 billion in government penalties, respectively, in connection with their off-label promotions of blockbuster drugs. Glaxo’s was the biggest drug company settlement in history.  To the companies, however, these big numbers are just chump change.