Patient safety is greatly compromised when financial incentives interfere with crucial medical decisions. The Wall Street Journal reports how two pharmaceutical sales representatives exposed unlawful marketing practices regarding the immunosuppressant drug, Rapamune.
Pfizer and its subsidiary, Wyeth Pharmaceuticals faced a lawsuit under the Federal False Claims Act for actively marketing Rapamune for non-FDA-approved uses as well as paying kickbacks to prescribers.
In paying kickbacks to physicians, pharmaceutical companies manipulate honest and helpful medical advice. This practice could influence a doctor’s decision to prescribe certain products, leading to illegitimate or unnecessary prescription. Trusting patients may not be aware of a doctor’s financial incentives for certain decisions.
Pfizer is not the only company who has faced charges for misleading marketing. GlaxoSmithKline paid over $3 billion last year for similar charges regarding its COPD drug, Advair. Abbott Labs paid $1.6 billion for charges against its anticonvulsive drug, Depakote. A $25 million settlement was reached regarding Amgen’s anemia drug, Aranesp. The safety of many patients has been put at risk by such attempts to increase sales.
You should consult with your medical provider before making any changes in medication. If you or a loved one has suffered an injury as a result of misleading drug information or incorrectly prescribed medication, you should contact a Lopez McHugh attorney for a free consultation.