Archive for the ‘Pharmaceutical industry’ Category

Healthcare industry spends $30B on marketing—most of it goes to doctors

January 11th, 2019
Healthcare industry spends $30B on marketing—most of it goes to doctors

Enlarge (credit: Getty | Media for Medical)

Talk with your doctor… It’s a common refrain at the end of any drug advertisement or disease awareness campaign. Ostensibly, it seems like a responsible suggestion. Talking with your own, trusted doctor can help determine if a new drug really is right for you, or if you may be suffering from an undiagnosed disease. You shouldn’t just take the word of the drug company behind that drug ad or awareness campaign, of course.

But the suggestion to consult with your doctor may not be as innocent as it seems. The drug company likely got to your doctor first.

Of the nearly $30 billion health companies now spend on medical marketing each year, around 68 percent (or about $20 billion) goes to persuading doctors and other medical professionals—not consumers—of the benefits of prescription drugs. That’s according to an in-depth analysis published in JAMA this week. The study broke down exactly how health companies convinced us to spend enormous sums on our care between 1997 and 2016. In that time, health companies went from spending $17.7 billion to $29.9 billion on medical marketing. Meanwhile, US healthcare spending hit $3.3 trillion, or 17.8 percent of the GDP, in 2016.

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Posted in drug advertisements, drug prices, fda, Health policy, medical marketing, Pharmaceutical industry, science | Comments (0)

“Scary” reality: Meds tainted with germs, glass, carcinogens, mystery particles

January 7th, 2019
What else is in there?

Enlarge / What else is in there? (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

An investigation by Kaiser Health News into thousands of recent drug recalls reveals a frightening record of medicines in the US being tainted with dangerous bacteria, mold, glass shards, rubber bits, cancer-causing chemicals, mysterious powders, and worrying metal particles. There were also cases of medications with too much or too little ingredients—or simply the wrong ingredients entirely.

Digging deeper, the investigation discovered that a startling number of the drug makers who issued the recalls had received an all-clear from Food and Drug Administration inspectors within a year of their recalls. FDA records and lawsuits suggest that drug makers can easily game the inspection system, mislead inspectors, lie about where drugs are manufactured, or outright sabotage inspections.

For instance, FDA enforcement documents reveal that employees at one drug-making facility in Japan stood “shoulder-to-shoulder” to physically block an FDA inspector from looking around, and another drug maker in India faked a worker strike and cut the lights at its facility to foil an inspection. In a different case, whistleblowers alleged in a lawsuit that Gilead Sciences told the FDA that it used a facility in South Korea to make an ingredient for HIV drugs Truvada and Atripla, but in reality, Gilead was using an unregistered facility in China. The civil suit claimed that the Chinese ingredient contained “glass-like shards,” “black rubber-like particles,” “plastic-like particles,” “small stone or pebble-like particles” and “metal shards.”

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Posted in bacterial infection, contamination, Drug Safety, fda, kaiser health news, Pharmaceutical industry, science | Comments (0)

Big Pharma ushers in new year with price hikes on hundreds of drugs

January 2nd, 2019
Ian Read, chairman and CEO of Pfizer Inc. spoke with President Trump last July about pausing drug price hikes. Pfizer now plans to increase prices of 41 of its drugs later this month.

Enlarge / Ian Read, chairman and CEO of Pfizer Inc. spoke with President Trump last July about pausing drug price hikes. Pfizer now plans to increase prices of 41 of its drugs later this month. (credit: Getty | Bloomberg)

More than three dozen drug companies welcomed the new year with sweeping price hikes on hundreds of medicines, according to a new analysis from Rx Savings Solutions, which was first reported by The Wall Street Journal.

The drugs that saw list-price increases on January 1 ranged from generics and blood-pressure drugs to brand-name prescriptions such as the dry-eye treatment Restasis. The average price jump blew past inflation at 6.5 percent, with some medicines seeing double-digit increases—bucking many drug companies' vows to keep such periodic hikes under 10 percent.

Despite public and political pressure on pharmaceutical companies to reign in soaring drug prices, Tuesday's wide-ranging increases are no surprise. In December, Reuters reported that 28 drug makers had filed notifications with California agencies that they planned to raise drug prices. (A recently passed law in the Golden State requires drug makers to provide notification if they plan to raise US lists prices by more than 16 percent over a two-year period.)

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Posted in Allergan, drug pricing, Pfizer, Pharmaceutical industry, science, Trump | Comments (0)