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It seems an odd paradox that a sector dedicated to saving lives and improving health seems so habituated to pulling dodgy tricks, but once again the pharmaceutical industry has been caught with its hand deep in the ethical cookie jar.

So serious were the misdemeanours this time that the American drugmaker Pfizer has had to agree to pay $2.3bn (£1.4bn) in the largest healthcare fraud settlement in the history of the US Department of Justice.

The company was found to have illegally promoted…

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