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Thursday, December 11, 2014

Systemic Failure: "Doctors Prescribing Meds Based On Drug Company Kickbacks"

When the drug maker Genentech introduced a major product in 2006, it found itself in an awkward position: persuading eye doctors to start using its new more expensive drug instead of a popular cheaper version that the company already sold.

Ophthalmologists had been enthusiastically using the company’s cancer drug Avastin, which cost about $50 a dose, to treat a common eye disease in the elderly, wet macular degeneration. Then Genentech introduced Lucentis, a nearly equivalent drug that cost $2,000 a dose and was approved specifically to treat the disease.

Now, a new federal database shows that many of the doctors who were the top billers for Lucentis were also among the highest-paid consultants for Genentech, earning thousands of dollars to help promote the drug. The data raises questions about whether financial relationships between doctors and drug companies influence treatment decisions, even though physicians maintain they cannot be swayed.
Half of the 20 doctors who received the most money from Genentech to promote Lucentis in 2013 were among the highest users of the drug in 2012, billing for higher amounts of Lucentis than 75 percent of their peers. The figures were compiled from two federal databases that covered different periods, and it is not known whether or how much Genentech paid the doctors in 2012.

– From the New York Times article: Paid to Promote Eye Drug, and Prescribing It Widely.


Anonymous said...

Nothing new here. I believe this has been happening for a long time. Very sad, but very true. The healthcare industry is no longer about helping people, it's about money and business. Just ask anyone who has been treated with "defensive medicine."
I am very sad to say, I have had that experience and it wasn't good to put it nicely.

Anonymous said...

Ironically, as a health care practitioner, we are unable to let marketing and consulting drive our prescribing habits. Insurance companies decide what is and what is not on formulary. Even if an alternative is in the best interest of the patient.

Many of the medical decisions that are made today are no longer driven by our training and our experience. They are driven by pre-approvals, protocols and formularies.

Anonymous said...

Yea ,and just think we send them to school to be Drug Dealers.

Anonymous said...

And this is news how??? Look for the person in black pulling a little black case on wheels behind them that is ushered into your doctors office before you. Then notice that your doctor "just happens" to have a new drug that may help you. Drugs for kickbacks is common.