WHY THE PHARMECEUTICAL LOBBY IS A PROBLEM

My local paper this morning had the following headline: Area doctors paid by Eli LillySeveral Roanoke health care providers have received payments from the drug maker this year.By Sarah Bruyn Jones

It’s no big deal that local docs accepted $60,562.50 in the first three months of the year, is it?

Well, Eli Lilly will say no – that is the only way they can make physicians aware about their new products. They will also tell you (as cited in the article) they are making this information available “to increase transparency,” said Dr. Jack Harris, Lilly’s vice president of its U.S. medical division, in a news release. “We see greater transparency as integral to rebuilding trust in our industry.”

Rebuilding Trust. I like that phrase. Here are some other ideas on how to rebuild trust:

1. studies on medications NOT funded by the drug maker looking to make millions on the patent

2. Doctors having equal access to information on drugs so they are not pushing the meds of those pharm reps most recently in their office (yes, sometimes this is unintentional, but it still happens)

3. Pharm companies not advertising directly to consumers telling them on TV that they WILL HAVE A BETTER LIFE IF THEY TAKE Cymbaloft. Just ask your doctor for details.

I am glad they are publishing payment lists… but lets look at lists that reflect (1) visit from pharm. company and (2) number of scripts written for that drug within 30 days.

My Mom was recently given an expensive and completely ineffective 14 day steroid treatment. When she asked on day 10 why the doctor had prescribed the intensive treatment (wondering whether other MS patients had seen success) he said “No, never had a patient on it, but the pharm. rep was in here a little while ago.”

So glad she was the guinea pig… and I wonder what the doc’s kick back was after her prescription?

Thank you Roanoke Times – for publishing the article. Folks in Roanoke need to be more aware of what these companies do.

Lauren Ellerman

Lauren Ellerman

In 2011, Lauren Ellerman was named "Young Lawyer of the Year" by the Roanoke Bar Association for her work in the community. To speak with Lauren about your personal injury case, contact her at lellerman@frithlawfirm.com.