Tuesday, August 15, 2006

Pharma Drug Companies Continue to End Run Doctors

From Reuters and Yahoo:

The ascendancy of marketing over science?

FDA personnel and Big Pharma watchdogs are worrying about straight to consumer pitches that may offer drugs like a free Viagra prescription or a no-cost trial of sleeping pills.

Coupons for prescription drugs may increase the desire to take a drug that may or may not be the most suitable drug for a person's ailments. Community Catalyst is a group that is joining with others groups in seeking an FDA ban on the practice of coupons for free drugs.

The FDA meekly joined the fraym, then apparently under immense pressure from Big Pharma, retracted a stated position. In 2006, the FDA said that drugs promoted with coupons or free trial offers may be seen as more widely indicated, more appropriate and/or less risky than they may be.
That notice was later pulled back. The FDA position made it one day before it was pulled back. You can read the "Notice" here. On one blog, a poster noted:

The giveaways are not just for adults. Galderma Pharma was roundly hammered for giving free music downloads to people who bought prescriptions for acne drug Differin. That practice has since been stopped.

One University Professor has said the coupon trend was "the same symptom we have seen in the drug industry for years - the ascendancy of marketing over science" as companies fight for market share. Go here.