Medical Marketing: Medical Mistake?

For patients of all ages, injuries can occur when drugs are improperly prescribed, compounded or dispensed. But what if you get the wrong drug for your condition because a doctor is being paid by the drug company? 

In December, pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) revealed changes to its marketing practices. The company is addressing questions about payments to physicians who speak about its products to other healthcare providers. GSK and other pharmaceutical companies have traditionally provided financial perks to physicians who discuss their products. The benefits of such drug promotion might include: 

  • Paying doctors to travel to conferences and promote their products
  • Providing education grants to doctors conducting research in areas related to drug company products
  • Offering compensation and inducements to drug representatives who convince physicians to prescribe drug products for on-label and off-label uses 

For many, the collaboration of doctors and drug companies appears to weaken the ethical and medical objectivity of healthcare providers. Doctors receiving compensation from a drug company can be influenced by the information — and the money — they receive to push the drug. 

In a move expected to be followed by other pharmaceutical manufacturers, GSK plans the following changes: 

  • Revise compensation practices to relieve drug representatives of individual sales targets
  • Develop and distribute technical information and other data to physicians without paying healthcare providers to promote products
  • Provide fair and transparent funding to independent research projects 

If you were injured by a prescription that was not appropriate for your condition, you may be a victim of an intentional medical marketing scheme. Speak with experienced legal counsel if seeking healthcare led to erroneous medical advice, service or medication in North Carolina.

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