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经济学人 优秀文章:强生公司走出困境了吗?

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Business.

商业。
Johnson & Johnson.
强生公司。
Out of the mire?
走出困境了吗?
The Justice Department may spoil the drugmaker's fresh start.
司法部可能会毁了这家药厂的新开始。
FOR the past few years Johnson & Johnson (J&J) has stumbled clumsily through the legal and reputational swamps of contaminated pills and faulty fake hips. Under a new chief executive, it is supposed to be taking a confident stride onto firmer terrain. On April 26th Alex Gorsky, a senior manager who joined the company as a salesman in 1988, was due to take charge. Yet the ground is still worryingly soft. America's Justice Department wants Mr Gorsky to testify about alleged fraud. J&J says he has nothing to do with the case.
过去几年,强生官司不断,毒药丸、假臀缺陷等丑闻频出,公司步履艰难。在新掌门的领导下,公司有望重拾信心,大踏步向更高的目标迈进。4月26日,1988年就进入强生从事销售工作的公司高管亚历克斯?高斯基走马上任。但令人担忧的是,公司境遇依然艰难。美国司法部想要高斯基先生为公司的欺诈指控作证。强生方面表示,高斯基先生与该案无关。
The government's request, made on April 11th, is the latest stage of a long dispute. The department's lawyers filed their suit in 2010, alleging that J&J made improper payments to boost prescriptions of its drugs. J&J can at least take solace in not being alone. The Justice Department has sued almost every big drug firm.
政府4月11日作出的请求不过是这场长期纠纷的最新进展。司法部律师于2010年提请诉讼,他们宣称,强生为了推销他们的药方进行了非正常的支付。令强生公司得到慰藉是至少它不是‘孤军奋战',几乎所有的大药厂都受到过司法部的指控。
Most suits are brought under the False Claims Act, which since 1986 has encouraged citizens to sue firms that defraud the government. Whistleblowers are fortified not only by righteousness but also by a share of damages. They and the department have forged a model public-private partnership. Since 1986 the team has won more than $30 billion.
大多数诉讼的依据是1986年生效的《虚假申报法案》,该法案鼓励公民对那些欺骗政府的公司进行起诉。一些人踊跃揭露黑幕,一是出自正义,二是可以获得一份赔偿。他们和司法部共同打造了一个公私合伙的典范,1986年以来,这支队伍的收入超过了300亿美元。
Billions have been wrung out of drugmakers. The firms have been charged with marketing drugs for unapproved uses, paying illegal kickbacks to raise sales, or both, cheating the public-health programmes that foot the bill. In the last quarter of 2011 Abbott said it had reserved $1.5 billion to pay penalties for its marketing practices, Amgen said it had reserved $780m for a similar purpose, and GlaxoSmithKline announced a staggering $3 billion agreement with the department.
制药厂被迫缴纳数十亿美元,他们被处罚的理由是未经批准销售药物,为扩大销售支付回扣,或者二者兼而有之,有的公司对支付患者医药费用的全民医疗保险项目进行欺瞒。2011年最后一季度,雅培表示,他们已为公司的营销行为准备了15亿美元的罚款。安进表示为同样的目的他们也保留了7.8亿美元,葛兰素史克宣布他们们与司法部之间达成了一个金额高达30亿美元的协议。
The department says that J&J's questionable antics took place between 1999 and 2004. It alleges that the company used rebates, grants and other kickbacks to encourage Omnicare, a pharmacy for nursing homes, to recommend its drugs to patients. Prosecutors say that J&J continued to push sales of a drug even after warnings that it had not been properly studied in old people. On April 11th the government's lawyers asked a judge to compel Mr Gorsky, who oversaw the implicated business at the time, to testify. If the judge agrees, J&J may find a settlement attractive.
司法部表示,强生的不轨行为发生在1999年至2004年间,他们称,强生使用返利、补贴等回扣方式鼓励一家专供养老院的药店“Omnicare”向患者推荐他们的药品。检查官说,在被告知尚不明确这些药物是否适用老年人的情况下,强生依然我行我素,继续推销他们的药品。4月11日,政府律师要求法官迫使当时负责相关业务的高斯基先生出庭作证。如果法官同意,强生可能会更希望庭外和解。
Such a deal would not be the last. Settlements show no sign of abating, for two main reasons. First, whatever the merits of the case against J&J, it is not clear that companies are changing their ways. The benefits of aggressive marketing often outweigh the cost of settlements. Aaron Kesselheim of Harvard University tracked sales of Neurontin, a drug approved for epilepsy but prescribed for much more. By 2004, when Pfizer paid $430m in penalties, annual sales had reached $2.7 billion.
这样的交易不会是最后一笔,问题的解决并不表明这种情况有所减少,这有两个主要原因,第一,不管这起针对强生的案件价值几何,我们都弄不清楚这些公司是否已改邪归正。积极的营销带来的利益常常超过解决争端的成本,哈佛大学的阿伦?凯泽尔海姆对批准为治疗癫痫、实际上用途更广的处方药“镇顽癫”进行了跟踪后发现,到2004年,辉瑞支付的罚款为4.3亿美元,而这种药每年销售已达27亿美元。
Second, there is ample appetite to sue. Barack Obama's health-care law included new measures to fight fraud. For every $1 spent in such cases, the Justice Department boasts it gets $7 in return. Whistleblowers keep coming forward: last year they tooted in record numbers. And states are getting fiercer: a judge in Arkansas recently ordered J&J to pay $1.1 billion for violating the state's version of the False Claims Act.
第二,上诉者往往会狮子大开口且乐此不彼,奥巴马的保健法为打击欺诈增添了新的内容。在类似案例中,每支出一美元,司法部就会得到7美元的回报。报料揭丑者前赴后继:去年,他们战果空前。各州也愈加猛烈,最近,因违反州颁发的《虚假申报法案》,阿肯色州的一位法官要求强生支付11亿美元。
Drug executives may find one penalty especially scary. In March Eric Holder, the attorney-general, said the Justice Department would go after people as well as companies. For example, they might be banned from business with any government health-care programme. In a country where spending on health is nearly 18% of the economy, that could finish some amply remunerated careers.
不过有一项处罚条款会让制药公司的老总们吓出一身冷汗。三月份艾立克?胡尔德总检查长表示,司法部将在处理此类案件时,不仅对公司,也会对当事人追查到底。例如,他们可能被禁与政府“公共健康计划”有关的所有业务。在一个健康支出占经济收入18%的国家,这可能会终结一些具有可观报酬的职业。

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legal ['li:gəl]

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adj. 法律的,合法的,法定的

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terrain ['terein]

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n. 地带,地域,地形

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solace ['sɔləs]

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n. 安慰,慰藉 v. 使快乐,使安慰,使缓和

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questionable ['kwestʃənəbəl]

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adj. 可疑的,可置疑的

 
spoil [spɔil]

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n. 战利品,奖品
v. 宠坏,溺爱,破坏,腐

 
faulty ['fɔ:lti]

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adj. 有错误的,有缺点的

 
executive [ig'zekjutiv]

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adj. 行政的,决策的,经营的,[计算机]执行指令

 
fraud [frɔ:d]

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n. 骗子,欺骗,诈欺

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illegal [i'li:gəl]

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adj. 不合法的,非法的
n. 非法移民

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recommend [.rekə'mend]

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vt. 建议,推荐,劝告
vt. 使成为可取,

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