I don't chalk this up to regulatory ineptitude, as it seems as though the FDA may not have been given all of the information.
Seems inept to me to take the manufactures word on it. Isn't the point of the FDA to check these claims?
I guess I also just don't believe that the FDA isn't corrupt. Our entire system is corrupt, and I'd demand extraordinary proof to show that the FDA is somehow exempt from this.
I've also seen a recent strew of such events. There's been a LOT of drugs recently that have had huge settlements made. The FDA came about because of this reason, not to simply fine and bitch-slap the companies post facto, but to prevent such events from occurring in the first place. I know this isn't going to always be possible, especially for long-term effects.
On corruption or lack thereof, you've put me in a "prove the negative" situation...so we're not going to get anywhere from that direction. Do you have specific examples of corruption within the FDA, or things you suspect happen?
I am not aware of anything corrupt in what they do (aside from that insider trading thing I mentioned, and he's in jail). There are dfinitely some power-tripping petty tyrants who get off on bullying people (there are a couple of inspectors like this), but that's not corruption, that's just being an asshole.
As far as claims that are approved vs. those that are claimed in ads (or, more frequently, by ethically-challenged salespeople), the FDA does not have the power to actually prevent such claims from being made. However, what they do have is enforcement power if an ad or a salesperson is touting an off-label use; the penalties for transgressions can be quite high. And even I, working in R&D, had to go through the training about this.
The FDA can only review the data that is put in front of them. There are strict requirements around what this data should be, and if a company is found to have skirted it, there are severe penalties both from the agency and in civil lawsuits. This applies to all relevant data...clinical, pharmacology/toxicity, chemistry/manufacturing (the last of these is my area, and where I've written stuff that has gone into them).
In a way, the FDA is a law enforcement agency...they can't always prevent a law from being broken, but they can set the penalty high enough that it deters shenanigans.
As far as settlements, many times a company will settle just to avoid a runaway jury situation...there have been vaccine settlements in the tens of millions of dollars for adverse events that could not have possibly arisen from the vaccination...but most of the populace is scietifically illiterate, loves to see big pharma as evil, and is easily manipulated by lawyers and the appearance of sick kids...whether or not the sickness could have actually arised from the vaccination. So with that in mind, many companies, don't want to risk something going in front of a jury.
If you want to find the meaningful actions against pharma companies, look at actions by the FDA, SEC, FTC, and DoJ.