“Follow The Money”: Big Pharma Swindles Insurance, Medicare And Consumers

By Catherine J. Frompovich

Big Pharma ostensibly is having its sails trimmed—a little too late, but it’s about time!

The recent opioid scandal; ‘perennial’ prescription drug class action lawsuits, e.g., Vioxx, etc. [1,2]; the ever-present vaccine fraud no one wants to ‘touch’; and now, the recent study Influence of pharmaceutical marketing on Medicare prescriptions in the District of Columbia” published October 25, 2017 in PLOS/One wherein the following collusion-like activity on the part of both pharmaceutical makers and MDs is confirmed by following the money trail.

Gifts from pharmaceutical companies are believed to influence prescribing behavior, but few studies have addressed the association between industry gifts to physicians and drug costs, prescription volume, or preference for generic drugs.

The results of the above study are nothing short of incriminating!

In 2013, 1,122 (39.1%) of 2,873 Medicare Part D prescribers received gifts from pharmaceutical companies totaling $3.9 million in 2013. Compared to non-gift recipients, gift recipients prescribed 2.3 more claims per patient, prescribed medications costing $50 more per claim, and prescribed 7.8% more branded drugs. [….]

Physicians who received small gifts (less than $500 annually) had more expensive claims ($114 vs. $85) and more branded claims (30.3% vs. 25.7%) than physicians who received no gifts. Those receiving large gifts (greater than $500 annually) had the highest average costs per claim ($189) and branded claims (39.9%) than other groups.

In the Conclusions part of that study, we find this candid and indicting statement:

Gifts from pharmaceutical companies are associated with more prescriptions per patient, more costly prescriptions, and a higher proportion of branded prescriptions with variation across specialties. Gifts of any size had an effect and larger gifts elicited a larger impact on prescribing behaviors. Our study confirms and expands on previous work showing that industry gifts are associated with more expensive prescriptions and more branded prescriptions. Industry gifts influence prescribing behavior, may have adverse public health implications, and should be banned.

If you don’t happen to realize, the above ‘costs of doing business’ result in the cost of healthcare for everyone increasing at all levels. Furthermore, the practice of “gifting” medical professionals should be considered a crime—similar to rebating in the insurance industry [3], and illegal in most states.

Big Pharma gifts influence MDs script writing, which affects Medicare, Medicaid, and all healthcare insurance policies, coverages and, ultimately, premiums insureds pay.

Where is oversight on the pharmaceutical industry?

Why aren’t Congress, federal health agencies and state insurance departments doing their jobs? Or, are they also too caught up in being gifted by Big Pharma’s lobbyists to realize what’s happening with a ‘runaway freight train’?

References:

[1] https://topclassactions.com/lawsuit-settlements/prescription/
[2] https://www.thejusticelawyer.com/dangerous-drugs-and-devices-list.html
[3] https://www.irmi.com/online/insurance-glossary/terms/r/rebating.aspx

Resource:

The More Lavish the Gifts to Doctors, the Costlier the Drugs They Prescribe
https://www.nytimes.com/2017/10/25/well/live/the-more-lavish-the-gifts-to-doctors-the-costlier-the-drugs-they-prescribe.html

Catherine J Frompovich (website) is a retired natural nutritionist who earned advanced degrees in Nutrition and Holistic Health Sciences, Certification in Orthomolecular Theory and Practice plus Paralegal Studies. Her work has been published in national and airline magazines since the early 1980s. Catherine authored numerous books on health issues along with co-authoring papers and monographs with physicians, nurses, and holistic healthcare professionals. She has been a consumer healthcare researcher 35 years and counting.

Catherine’s latest book, published October 4, 2013, is Vaccination Voodoo, What YOU Don’t Know About Vaccines, available on Amazon.com.

Her 2012 book A Cancer Answer, Holistic BREAST Cancer Management, A Guide to Effective & Non-Toxic Treatments, is available on Amazon.com and as a Kindle eBook.

Two of Catherine’s more recent books on Amazon.com are Our Chemical Lives And The Hijacking Of Our DNA, A Probe Into What’s Probably Making Us Sick (2009) and Lord, How Can I Make It Through Grieving My Loss, An Inspirational Guide Through the Grieving Process (2008)

Catherine’s NEW book: Eat To Beat Disease, Foods Medicinal Qualities ©2016 Catherine J Frompovich is now available


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