Do Drugs Companies Pay Billions of Dollars to Doctors to Use their Products?
Drugs are big business and $3.5 Billion is a lot of money by anyone’s standard. However, it’s the amount of money pharmaceutical companies paid to 546,000 doctors and 1,360 teaching hospitals during the final five months of 2013, according to the Wall Street Journal.
To put that in perspective it’s an average of $6,254.46 per doctor and teaching hospital during that time or $41.15 a day. However not all the payments were equal. During that period one Baltimore surgeon, received about $78,200 in payments that Teleflex Inc. described as “for food and beverage” (if we assume that they had one lunch every day during that 152 day period recorded that is $514.47 a meal). He claimed the number is in the right ballpark however it should not have been put in the “food-and-beverage” category. Other surgeons received as much $7.4 million and $4 million during that same period.
Many patients and patient watchdog groups may be worried that this amount of money being spent may buy the pharmaceutical companies some favor and doctors are not acting on the basis of buying the drug that is most beneficial to patients.
A study conducted by Santa Clara University, suggests these fears are founded. It was discovered that doctors who had received financial compensation from or attended an event hosted by a drug company on average doubled and even tripled their prescription of drugs carried by that company. In one case a doctor at a hospital prescribed a patient with an infected insect bite an antibiotic that goes for $183 a day. Penicillin, a more traditional drug used for bites, usually costs between $25 and $50 a day.
We know that not all drugs are equal. In fact some can be detrimental to patients. Earlier this year there was a lawsuit against Takeda Pharmaceutical Co Ltd and their drug Actos that ended with a $9 million verdict. Actos has been linked to bladder cancer but there is evidence that the pharmaceutical company hid those risks. Thousands of other lawsuits are pending.
If you or a loved one has been harmed by a dangerous drug, call our Hampton Roads medical malpractice lawyers at 757.455.0077 for a free consultation