The Finch Formerly Known As Gold

10 August 2005

Pill payola

If you're an institutional buyer of prescription drugs and you'd like some serious discounts, be prepared to keep your trap shut:

The Wall Street Journal reports that drug companies have started putting language in their contracts with medical institutions to shape what doctors can and cannot tell patients about specific drugs.

Case in point: Eli Lilly offers a discount to major purchasers of antidepressant Cymbalta as long as those purchasers refrain from "negative D.U.R. [drug utilization review] correspondence to physicians" or "negative educational counter-detailing".

"Is this hospital prescribing too much of this drug?" or "Could we find a lower-priced substitute?" is apparently enough to constitute negative D.U.R.

I'll keep this in mind the next time I see some drug-industry ad on Lifetime explaining how health is the only thing that matters to them.

(Via Lindsay Beyerstein.)

Posted at 7:41 AM to Dyssynergy