Tag Archive for ‘Pharmaceutical Companies’
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The Access to Medicine Index seeks to rank pharmaceutical companies based on their efforts “to enhance global access to medicines.” The report cited particular problematic medical areas including a need for new pharmaceutical products to address neglected tropical diseases and the lack of viable markets for pediatric HIV/AIDS drugs.
The legislation would require the Securities and Exchange Commission to award whistleblowers up to 30 percent of the fines collected by the government for providing “original information” regarding violations of securities laws. Based on some recent cases involving the U.S. Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, payouts could be in the tens of millions of dollars.
The settlement involves civil charges that from 2001 through 2006 the pharmaceutical company illegally marketed the anti-psychotic drug Seroquel for so-called “off-label” uses not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
The code provides guidance “on appropriate interactions with for-profit companies in the health care sector,” and seeks to ensure that societies’ interactions with companies “are independent and transparent.” Thirteen medical societies have already formally adopted the code.