The pressure on doctors from Big Pharma is very real.
Pharmaceutical companies are highly effective and creating drugs to treat certain medical conditions, but are less concerned with the side effects. The problem with having highly effective drugs with life-ruining side effects is the moral dilemma the doctors find in prescribing such drugs.
So it may come as no surprise that some of the Big Pharma fat cats have taken to extreme measures to ensure their drugs keep getting prescribed, namely bribing doctors in continuing prescriptions.
Pharmaceutical CEO John Kapoor has been arrested for allegedly bribing doctors into prescribing highly addictive opioids.
These types of drugs have been recently revealed to have created a generation of addicts, many of who turn to stronger drugs such as heroin as their addictions spiral out of control.
The Department of Justice have said:
“… Kapoor leading a nationwide conspiracy to profit by using bribes and fraud to cause the illegal distribution of Subsys, a powerful Fentanyl spray intended for cancer patients experiencing breakthrough pain,”
The opioid epidemic in some parts of the U.S is at such a crisis point that President Donald Trump recently declared a state of emergency.
He said in a statement:
“We owe it to our children and to our country to do everything in our power to address this national shame and human tragedy,”
Acting United States Attorney William D. Weinreb said:
“In the midst of a nationwide opioid epidemic that has reached crisis proportions, Mr. Kapoor and his company stand accused of bribing doctors to overprescribe a potent opioid and committing fraud on insurance companies solely for profit,”
This behavior exhibited by Mr. Kapoor is demonstrative of the aggressive way in which Big Pharma push their products, despite knowing the devastating effects of some of the drugs, all purely for financial gain.
So what can you do?
You can use ProPublica’s “Dollars for Docs” website, to find out if your doctor accepts donations and payments from Big Pharma companies.
1,630 companies have made payments to more than 681,000 doctors in the United States, totaling more than $3.5 billion.
You can also find out if your doctor receives payments from Big Pharma by visiting OpenPaymentsData.cms.gov. This site has recorder nearly $6.5 billion in payments since 2013.
Drug companies have long tried to influence doctors’ prescribing habits by paying them for research activities, speaking and other “consulting,” or offering gifts of free meals and travel. However, it hasn’t always been possible to find out what gifts your own doctor might be accepting.
The Physician Payments Sunshine Act, part of the Affordable Care Act, was rolled out in 2013. The Act requires, for the first time, drug and medical device makers to collect and disclose any payments of more than $10 made to physicians and teaching hospitals.
The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) is in charge of implementing the Sunshine Act, which it has done via its Open Payments Program. Here, you’ll be able to search the site with ease to find out about payments your doctor has received, together with the nature of the payments.