Tag Archive for ‘Doctors’
An investigation by ProPublica examines information from a database known as Open Payments, which gives the first comprehensive look at how much money drug and device companies have spent working with doctors. What it shows is that the drugs most aggressively promoted to doctors typically aren’t cures or even big medical breakthroughs. Some are top sellers, but most are not.
In a major departure from industry practice, GlaxoSmithKline, the sixth-largest global drug maker, announced that it will no longer hire doctors to promote its drugs. The company also will stop tying compensation for sales representatives to the number of prescriptions written for drugs they market. The changes will be made worldwide over the next two years.
As the U.S. Senate Finance Committee launched an investigation into makers of narcotic painkillers and groups that champion them, a leading pain advocacy organization said it was dissolving “due to irreparable economic circumstances.” The group received 90 percent of its $5 million in funding in 2010 from the drug and medical-device industry.
Following an investigation by ProPublica of payments made by drug companies to doctors, some of the nation’s top medical schools last year cracked down on professors who give paid promotional talks for drugmakers. The firms themselves cut back on such spending in the wake of mounting scrutiny.
Overdoses caused by narcotics painkillers now kill nearly 15,000 people a year — more than heroin and cocaine combined. But the pills continue to have a champion in the American Pain Foundation, which describes itself as the U.S.’s largest advocacy group for pain patients. Its message: The risk of addiction is overblown, and the drugs are underused. What the nonprofit doesn’t highlight is the money behind that message.
Unlike doctors, architects, dentists, building contractors, journalists and a wide range of other professions and trades, economists do not have a code of professional ethics. That would seem more of an internal matter for the profession if it weren’t for the fact that journalists rely on academic and applied economists as sources.
At least 15 drug and medical-device companies have paid $6.5 billion since 2008 to settle accusations of marketing fraud or kickbacks. However, none of the more than 75 doctors named as participants were sanctioned, despite allegations of fraud or of conduct that put patients at risk, a review by ProPublica found.
Five U.S. senators are calling for an investigation into a system that gives surgeons a financial stake in the devices they use on their patients. The inquiry comes after a Wall Street Journal investigation of Dr. Vishal James Makker, a surgeon with a questionable track record for performing multiple spinal operations on his patients.
From the time they arrived to the moment they laid their heads on hotel pillows, the thousands of cardiologists attending this week’s Heart Rhythm Society conference in San Francisco have been bombarded with pitches for drugs and medical devices. Who arranged this commercial barrage? The society itself, which sold access to its members and their purchasing power.
Drug companies say they hire the most-respected doctors in their fields for the critical task of teaching about the benefits and risks of their drugs. But an investigation by ProPublica uncovered hundreds of doctors on company payrolls who had been accused of professional misconduct, were disciplined by state boards or lacked credentials as researchers or specialists.