Canadian drug makers assailed for lack of transparency over payments

Ten of Canada’s largest pharmaceutical companies, reports Toronto’s Globe and Mail, have revealed that together they spent at least $48.3-million on payments to physicians and health-care organizations last year, a voluntary disclosure that critics of Big Pharma say falls well short of genuine transparency.  The figures provided a peek into how drug makers compensate Canada’s physicians for consulting, delivering speeches, sitting on advisory boards and traveling to international medical conferences. But the companies did not name any of the doctors, nor did they reveal the total number of physicians they paid or the amounts they provided to doctors for running clinical trials.

Pharma lobbying held deep influence over opioid policies

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A two-part series by the Associated Press and the Center for Public Integrity investigated the influence of pharmaceutical companies on state and federal policies regarding opioids, the powerful painkillers that have claimed the lives of 165,000 people in the U.S. since 2000. Reporters tracked proposed laws on the subject and analyzed data on how the companies and their allies deployed lobbyists and contributed to political campaigns.

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Marketing and the Most Trusted Profession: The Invisible Interactions between Registered Nurses and Industry

A study published in Annals of Internal Medicine describes pharmaceutical industry activities targeted at registered nurses. Using qualitative, ethnographic methods to study pharmaceutical industry-nurse interactions at four acute care hospitals in one U.S. city, the authors found that nurses’ reported financial relationships with industry were similar to those reported by prescribers. However, nurses reported that their most significant interactions with industry occurred in daily practice.

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Pharmaceutical Industry–Sponsored Meals and Physician Prescribing Patterns for Medicare Beneficiaries

A study of the impact of free meals offered by pharmaceutical companies to physicians attending industry-sponsored continuing education found that receipt of industry-sponsored meals was associated with an increased rate of prescribing the brand-name medication that was being promoted. The findings represent an association, not a cause-and-effect relationship. The findings were published in JAMA Internal Medicine.

Unhealthy marketing of pharmaceutical products: An international public health concern

This report considers the current state of pharmaceutical marketing vis-à-vis ethical and legal standards and advocates measures to improve it. There is abundant evidence of unethical or illicit marketing. It fuels growing concerns about undue corporate influence over pharmaceutical research, education, and consumption.

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FTC Report on Drug Patent Settlements Shows Potential Pay-for-Delay Deals Decreased Substantially

In the year after the Supreme Court’s landmark antitrust decision in FTC v. Actavis, pharmaceutical companies entered into substantially fewer potential pay-for-delay patent dispute settlements, according to a new FTC staff report. In pay for delay, companies that hold patents for drugs pay other companies not to release similar drugs. The report summarizes data on patent settlements – which can arise between brand and generic drug companies – filed with the FTC and the Department of Justice during FY 2014 under the Medicare Modernization Act of 2003. Generic drugs often cost less than brand drugs, helping to make medicines affordable for millions of American consumers and to keep health care costs down.

Alarms raised on generic drug price increases

The Boston Globe reports that concerns about the soaring costs of prescription drugs have focused on new specialty treatments that can cost tens, even hundreds of thousands of dollars per patient. But insurers, health care providers, and industry specialists are now raising alarms about a new potential source of rising prices: generic drugs. Insurers say they are seeing huge cost increases for some commonly used generic drugs, with prices surging 15, 25, and even 75 times what they were just two years ago.

Health and Trade: what hope for SDG3?

Emma Woodford, Founder and Director, Health and Trade Network (HaT)

Cross posted from Health and Trade Network

“… the forces of power, particularly corporate power, are impatient with what is adequate for a coherent community. Because power gains so little from community in the short run, it does not hesitate to destroy community for the long run.” ― Wes Jackson, Becoming Native to This Place

In case you had been asleep for the last ten days, last week in New York the UN finally ratified the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) aiming to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure prosperity for all.

Continue reading Health and Trade: what hope for SDG3?