BP and Drug Manufacturers Dominate Federal Misconduct Penalties List

Sunday, November 15, 2015
(photo illustration: Steve Straehley, AllGov)

BP’s record fine for polluting the Gulf of Mexico puts it at the top of an elite group—the federal contractors most penalized for misconduct, compiled by the Project On Government Oversight (POGO).


BP’s $34.3 billion in penalties, most stemming from the Deepwater Horizon disaster in 2010, account for 37% of all penalties paid, according to POGO. Next on the list is drug-maker GlaxoSmithKline, with more than $10 billion in penalties for unsafe drugs, financial irregularities, and illegal marketing practices.


The next eight companies on the list are either oil-related or drug companies, with two exceptions. They are drug companies Merck ($7.7 billion in penalties) and Pfizer ($5.2 billion); ExxonMobil ($2.9 billion); General Motors ($2.3 billion); oil services company Halliburton ($2.2 billion); drug company McKesson ($2 billion); health insurance giant UnitedHealth ($1.8 billion); and drug-maker Schering-Plough (merged with Merck) ($1.6 billion).


“Of the 17 different types of misconduct included in the database, labor and environmental violations are the most common, accounting for a combined 40 percent of the resolved instances,” wrote Neil Gordon at POGO. “Less than 7 percent of the instances of misconduct are criminal cases.”

-Steve Straehley


To Learn More:

Big Pharma, Oil Dominate List of Federal Contractors Most Penalized for Misconduct (by Neil Gordon, Project on Government Oversight)

Federal Contractor Misconduct Database (Project on Government Oversight)

8 Corporations have Paid $1 Billion or more in Penalties in last 5 Years (by Noel Brinkerhoff and Steve Straehley, AllGov)

Most of $20.8 Billion BP Penalty Is Tax Deductible as a Cost of Doing Business (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Johnson & Johnson Ordered to Pay Billion-Dollar Penalty for Risperdal (by David Wallechinsky and Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)

Big 5 Defense Contractors Not Hurt by Their Multiple Cases of Misconduct (by Noel Brinkerhoff, AllGov)


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