Tag Archive for ‘Pfizer’
When Congress approved the landmark Medicare Part D program in 2003 to help seniors buy prescription drugs, it slapped on an unusual restriction: The federal government was barred from negotiating cheaper prices for those medicines. The ban on government price bargaining, justified by supporters on free market grounds, has been derided by critics as a giant gift to the drug industry.
Big Pharma has written more than $30 billion in checks in the last 10 years to resolve government allegations of illegal marketing, according to consumer watchdog group Public Citizen. Yet those sums are essentially petty cash for the drug giants, says Public Citizen, amounting to less than 5 percent of the net profits raked in by the 11 largest global pharmaceuticals firms over a similar period.
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.
A new initiative to develop standards for reporting on environmental, social and governance (ESG) issues by publicly-held U.S. companies has launched its first set of standards – for the health care sector – with ambitious plans to develop similar standards for more than 80 industries in 10 sectors over the next two years.
Pharmaceutical companies have sought for years to protect their expensive brand-name drugs by paying generic rivals handsome sums of money to put off efforts to introduce cheaper, generic alternatives that could steal market share. But now it appears the drug company Pfizer is adding yet another twist to its efforts to delay generic competitors. As The New York Times reports, the company seems to have struck a deal with certain pharmacy benefit managers – the middlemen in the pharmaceutical industry – to block generic versions of Lipitor.
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.
A group of investment organizations with about $43 billion in assets under management has sent letters to 35 major companies represented on the board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, urging company managements “to evaluate their role and to assess the risks and benefits of Board membership.”
Many leading companies strive to follow best practices in corporate governance, demonstrating responsiveness to investors and protecting shareowner value in the process. Paradoxically – argues a leading socially responsible investment executive – some of these same companies often appear to leave their commitment to corporate governance at the doorstep when they serve on the board of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
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.
Drug companies say the millions of dollars they pay physicians for speaking and consulting justly compensates them for the laudable work of educating their colleagues. But ProPublic reports that a series of lawsuits brought by former employees of those companies allege the money often was used for illegal purposes — financially rewarding doctors for prescribing their brand-name medications.