Tuesday, December 17, 2013

GSK Halts Some Incentive Payments to Doctors

Pharmaceutical companies routinely pay doctors to prescribe drugs to patients. To pharmaceutical companies, it is a way to promote a new product, but the obvious conflicts of interest, when drugs may be prescribed for the financial health of a doctor and drug maker rather than the health of the patient, have drawn criticism. Now one of the largest pharmaceutical companies, GSK, says it is stopping some programs by which it makes payments to doctors. The story at ThinkProgress:

Consumers’ view of popular prescription drugs will surely change next year when we get a glimpse of the money flows. A U.S. government database will let you look up your own doctor’s incentive payments from drug makers. Uncounted thousands of doctors make more money this way than the average worker makes in total, and when people see this, I believe it will help them to understand that commercial medicine is not nearly so scientific as it sometimes claims. GSK has apparently decided it does not want to be at the top of the money list when it comes out.