On a recent episode of HBO’s “Last Week Tonight”,John Oliver delivered a scathing exposé on the influence large pharmaceutical companies have on the prescription practices of doctors. Oliver explained that 90% of big drug companies spend more on marketing than on research and Big Pharma spent over $24 billion promoting its products directly to physicians in 2012.
Is this a problem? All products are marketed to consumers in one way or another. But as Oliver noted, “drugs aren’t like most other products because you need someone’s permission to buy them.” And that permission comes from doctors, who often receive thousands of dollars in “promotional payments” to prescribe a particular drug.
As patients, we count on our doctors to prescribe the best and most cost-effective drug to treat our particular condition. There is an obvious conflict of interest if doctors are prescribing drugs based on marketing campaigns or personal financial benefits rather than their own medical expertise.
So what can you do to protect your own interests and make sure your doctor is not under the influence of Big Pharma? Fortunately, the federal government has recently created an open payments website. Go to the site and type in your doctor’s name and you can find out what payments your doctor has received from pharmaceutical companies.
If you’ve been a victim of misdiagnosis or medical malpractice, contact Wendt Law Firm P.C. today!