According to data from 2015 Open Payments reports, reports a new study in JAMA, 48% of physicians were reported to have received a total of $2.4 billion in payments from biomedical and pharmaceutical industries and group purchasing organizations. Physicians in surgical vs primary care specialties and male vs female physicians had a higher likelihood and higher value of payments.
Transparency International’s Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Programme has launched a set of new principles focused on strengthening ethical standards across the pharmaceutical sector in Latin America, promoting integrity and ethical business practices. “Business Principles for Promoting Integrity in the Pharmaceutical Sector in Latin America” calls on pharma companies to implement these Principles to help reduce the risk of corruption, which holds back effective healthcare, for example by denying millions of people to fair access to necessary, and often life-saving medicines. The Pharma Integrity Principles for Latin America aim to promote integrity in the pharmaceutical sector and guide companies in eliminating bribery and related conflicts of interest; demonstrating that the pharma industry is able to do business with integrity; making a positive contribution to improving business standards of integrity, transparency and accountability; and development, or strengthening of a practical and effective internal anti-corruption or integrity programs.
In a commentary in the New England Journal of Medicine, Robin Feldman and Connie Wang write that pharmaceutical companies have become adept at converting regulatory pathways into vehicles for profit-boosting strategies. They study the “citizen-petition process” that the Food and Drug Administration implemented in the 1970s to give the average citizen a way to voice concerns. Using 12 years of FDA data, they found that the “concerned citizen” is frequently a drug company raising frivolous or questionable claims in a last-ditch effort to hold off competition.
The Food and Drug Administration’s approach to consumer protection faces a potential turning point when a Senate committee takes up President Trump’s nomination of Scott Gottlieb to head the agency, writes POGO, the nonprofit Project on Government Oversight. Trump has called for slashing FDA restraints on pharmaceuticals, and with Gottlieb’s appointment he would entrust the task to a doctor and former FDA official who has been immersed in the pharmaceutical industry. One of The FDA’s main missions is making sure that prescription medicines sold to the public are safe and effective. The FDA gets much of its funding through so-called “user fees” paid by pharmaceutical and medical device companies, and the money comes with strings attached, giving industry extraordinary leverage over its federal overseer. In Gottlieb, Trump has chosen a potential FDA commissioner whose financial disclosures list line after line of payments from drug and biotech companies.
The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America has begun running television ads in New York criticizing Gov. Andrew Cuomo’s proposed new state controls over drug prices, reports the Wall Street Journal. Airing in several upstate counties, the ads describe Cuomo’s proposal and similar legislation put forth by the New York State Assembly’s Democratic majority as a tax from “New York City politicians” that would raise out-of-pocket costs and weaken health care quality. “Tell your legislators to reject the tax on prescription drugs,” a narrator states in the ads. The ads are said to be partly intended to pressure Republicans, who run the state Senate, to keep the measure out of the budget. Cuomo’s office disputed that his plan would increase out-of-pocket costs or weaken the quality of care. His plan seeks to cap drug prices through a series of state measures. He proposed creating a price ceiling for drugs that are reimbursed under Medicaid, imposing a surcharge on companies that exceed state price recommendations, and tightening regulations on intermediary brokers who negotiate drug prices for insurance plans
A new report analyzes the complex ways in which Belgian magazines deal with health information on the pharmaceutical industry supplied by PR practitioners. Based on content analysis of health items in a representative sample of magazines and interviews with magazine health journalists and their editors, the authors found that academic and medical experts were the most important sources for journalists. While the researchers found few explicit references to pharmaceutical industry sources, the interviews suggest that pharmaceutical PR creeps into health coverage in a more indirect and much more sophisticated manner, for instance by offering additional services such as contacts with scientists or patients. The authors concluded that the influence of pharmaceutical PR in magazine health news is stronger than would be expected based solely on quantitative analyses of editorial content.
Full citation: De Dobbelaer R , Van Leuven S, Raeymaeckers K. Dirty dancing: Health journalists and the pharmaceutical industry a multi-method study on the impact of pharma PR on magazine health. Public Relations Review (2017), http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pubrev.2017.02.002
As it readies for battle with President Donald Trump over drug prices, writes Pacific Standard, the pharmaceutical industry is deploying economists and health-care experts from the nation’s top universities. In scholarly articles, blogs, and conferences, they lend their prestige to the lobbying blitz, without always disclosing their corporate ties. Over the last three years, pharmaceutical companies have mounted a public relations blitz to tout new cures for the hepatitis C virus and persuade insurers, including government programs such as Medicare and Medicaid, to cover the costs. That isn’t an easy sell, because the price of the treatments ranges from $40,000 to $94,000 — or, because the treatments take three months, as much as $1,000 per day.