Pharma and Device Blog Watch
Half of Pharma Executives Think Drug Companies Promote Unapproved Uses Too Aggressively (BrandweekNRX)
Pharmaceutical executives and consumers have differing views on the drug industry, according to a survey by PricewaterhouseCoopers, writes Peter Rost.
“Ninety-one percent of pharmaceutical executives say unmet health needs are a top priority for pharmaceutical companies when deciding to develop a new drug instead of choosing to develop ‘me-too’ and ‘lifestyle’ drugs with the greatest sales potential. 71 percent of industry stakeholders agree, but only 55 percent of consumers think this is true,” he writes.
Drug companies are too aggressive in promoting unapproved uses, said 94 percent of consumers and 81 percent of industry stakeholders surveyed. Forty-seven percent of pharmaceutical executives agreed. The survey also found that 62 percent of stakeholders think drug companies manipulate clinical trial results to maximize sales, he continues.
“One interesting finding was that consumers place more value on a pharmaceutical company’s reputation when deciding whether to use a given pharmaceutical product than pharmaceutical executives believed,” according to Rost. As a result, the drug industry most likely will not change, politicians will do nothing and consumers will become increasingly disenfranchised, he writes.
Is It Free Speech or Off-Label Marketing? (Pharmalot)
A consolidated group of eight putative class action lawsuits before a federal judge in Newark, N.J., will be among the first cases to determine whether drugmakers face civil liability for promoting off-label uses, writes Ed Silverman in his blog.
“The suits were filed against Schering-Plough following a $435 million settlement last year of civil and criminal charges brought by the federal government, which claimed the drugmaker paid kickbacks to docs and promoted drugs for unapproved uses. The plantiffs are private drug users and third-party payers, such as unions and health insurance companies,” he says.
The defense will rely on a free-speech right to discuss off-label uses with doctors, who aren’t prohibited from prescribing drugs for unapproved uses, according to a lawyer for Schering-Plough. The company claims that “95 percent of oncology drugs are prescribed off-label and that off-label usage is also common for pediatric and psychological drugs,” Silverman writes.