Lying Media Bastards

August 7, 2005

Dr. Feelgood

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Pharmaceutical companies are cutting deals with pharmacies and hospitals that buy large quantities of their drugs, saying that they will give those institutions price discounts– if they just sign this eensy-weensy contract. And it turns out that parts of the contract would restrict what doctors could and couldn’t say about that company’s drugs.

For example, if the Minnesota Multi-State Contracting Alliance for Pharmacy bought huge amounts of anti-depressant Cymbalta from the Eli Lily company, they would receive a 5% discount, so long as their physicians agreed not to:

- point out when doctors were prescribing Cymbalta inappropriately
- point out that their institution seemed to be overprescribing Cymbalta
- describe side effects caused by Cymbalta without also mentioning the benefits of Cymbalta
- point out that other drugs might be cheaper than Cymbalta
- poke holes in Eli Lily’s claims about Cymbalta

(That example is non-hypothetical)

Most of this communication would be done within the institution, not from doctor to patient, which makes it slightly less egregious than it could be. But the bottom line is that drug companies want your money and could give a fuck about free speech, honest opinions, or your health, for that matter.

Posted by Jake on August 7, 2005 9:33 pm

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