Sunday, June 27, 2004

Latest marketing ploy from Big Pharm?

As reported in today's N.Y. Times (requires paid subscription), Schering-Plough's been sending 5- and 6-figure checks, unbidden, to physicians "in exchange for an attached 'consulting' agreement that required nothing other than his commitment to prescribe the company's medicines." (Kind of makes you nostalgic for the days when they thought they could buy the loyalty of physicians for the price of a lobster salad lunch once a month.) According to the article, there are several federal investigations looking into the marketing practices of several large drug companies (e.g., Johnson & Johnson, Wyeth and Bristol-Myers Squibb), including a Boston-based look into Schering-Plough.

The article interviewed 20 physicians about the details of the Schering-Plough scheme:
Schering-Plough's tactics, these people said, included paying doctors large sums to prescribe its drug for hepatitis C and to take part in company-sponsored clinical trials that were little more than thinly disguised marketing efforts that required little effort on the doctors' part. Doctors who demonstrated disloyalty by testing other company's drugs, or even talking favorably about them, risked being barred from the Schering-Plough money stream.
Makes you wonder about the company's view of the Medicare anti-kickback law (42 U.S.C. ยง 1320a-7b(b)), the marketing rules published two years ago by the industry's trade association, PhRMA, and DHHS/OIG's "Compliance Guidance for Pharmaceutical Manufacturers."
posted by tommayo, 2:28 PM

Health care law (including public health law, medical ethics, and life sciences), with digressions into constitutional law, poetry, and other things that matter