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What's so bad about off-label uses of medication?

A bottle of anti-depressant pills named Paxil are shown in Miami, Fla.

 According to the Justice Department, it's the biggest settlement in a health-care fraud case in history. GlaxoSmithKline, the huge British drug-maker, will pay $3 billion in fines and compensation to the U.S. government and the states.

That's for pushing doctors to prescribe drugs for uses that weren't approved by the FDA, and for failing to inform U.S. regulators of potential dangerous side-effects.

But off-label drug uses are really pretty common. So why is it considered so bad, apparently, that Glaxo has been encouraging off-label uses for prescription drugs?

Here to talk with us in today's Mid-day Extra is Steven Woloshin, professor of medicine at the Dartmouth Institute for Health Policy and Clinical Practice.

About the author

David Brancaccio is the host of Marketplace Morning Report. Follow David on Twitter @DavidBrancaccio
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