Believe it: Vytorin is all about Big Pharma reaping profits

6 thoughts on “Believe it: Vytorin is all about Big Pharma reaping profits”

  1. (Your avatar again did something funny on my blog. It turned itself into a bluish grey square maybe to suggest yet another snow storm.)

    I must have told you that as a translator I worked for the Basle pharma industry. The influence they exert on doctors is much larger than is known out there. For instance, there are congresses where young scientists who are willing to participate with a “paper” get all their expenses paid. These congresses invariably take place in pretty postcard places.

    Another slightly uglier way is to ask a scientist to have a look at a scientific publication. In the case I remember best the company put together a wee little lousy dictionary of scientific terms and then they most generously paid a known psychiatrist to just have a look at it. He was not even asked to be mentioned as a co-author of the publication. The publication was maybe not even published, was only a way to make the pay check less humiliating. That psychiatrist was in charge of some of the company’s psycho drug test programs.
    I probably wouldn’t be aware of it either if I hadn’t worked with doctors for so long. Also, my dad was a doctor. So many studies that are published are funded by the pharma companies. Not only is their new drug fantastic, but the study confirms it! Surprise, surprise.

    I remembered you said you were a translator, but don’t think you mentioned the company before. (I think the avatar thing happened because I got booted off WordPress as I was writing, and had not logged back in when I entered the rest of the comment.)

  2. At my child’s last Dr. Appt. I saw a woman get out of her car. She was wrestling with the biggest, prettiest, fanciest gift basket I’ve ever laid my eyes on. Looking at her car, she had as many as she could pack in there. I went inside. She brought it in along with other goodies and gave to the office and was then led to the back. That’s appalling. It’s bribery in my opinion.

    Everything at the office staff’s workstations was laden with pharmaceutical names. Rx names on the tissue box, the hand sanitizer, pens, pencils, everything.

    They should not allow that whatsoever. I’m feeling a naive – wondering now if the Dr. is prescribing an Rx to my child for the illness based on what’s best (and most cost effective for the family) for him/her- or is it based on what gifts were the best?

    I pray it’s for my kids health. Also, it could mean the difference for a $15 co-pay for the Rx vs. a $50- co-pay. I just hate it when I get up to the pharmacy counter and it’s $50 for one Rx (OMG, imagine if you didn’t have Rx coverage?).

    I have to remind myself when they give an Rx to any of us, to ask, “Is this the cheapest drug that will work? Because I am on a budget and want to take care of this the best way possible”

    Such an interesting post PT-30-
    Thanks, Lumpy. Most doctors will presecribe a generic drug if an appropriate one is available; they know medical costs for patients are sky-rocketing. But I’d be sure to ask each time, just in case.

    There has been controversy in the past about whether generic drugs are as safe and effective (“bioequivalent”) as brand names, especially where very precise dosage was critical, and that might still be true (even though the FDA is supposed to be watching generics as well), but dissing generics is certainly an idea that benefits Big Pharma. My more recent concern is generics manufactured outside this country, even though there are regulations about individuals bringing in foreign drugs. The FDA (see: emphasizes they cannot ensure the safety of such drugs (nice protection for American drug companies, isn’t it?).

    As for the reps, nothing frosts me more than watching drug reps (usually attractive women in spiffy business clothes pulling wheeled black suitcases) trail out of my doctor’s office while I’m still cooling my heels in the waiting room. (That’s happened the last two times I was there, and I’m switching to another doctor this month.) I’ve also sat in waiting rooms reading year-old magazines while listening to the staff in the back whooping it up over pizzas that a drug rep brought in.

    Smart doctors will at least send the reps out the back door, not through the waiting room, and schedule them at the end of the day or some other time that won’t interfere with patient appointments. If the reps just want to provide samples to be given to needy patients, they can jolly well use UPS.

  3. And the rep joke?

    A representative called at a doctor’s, and the doctor invited him in saying: You know I would not normally receive you in the morning. I simply don’t have time. Today there were seven here, and I sent everyone of them home.

    Yes, said the Rep, I know. Those seven, that’s me.

    Do you know a Herald Tribune writer called William Pfaff? He is the only journalist that I have been reading for years. He was the first to predict what would happen to the US in Iraq. He might also have been the first to launch the name of Obama, long ago. — The Herald Tribune is published by the Washington Post and the New York Times together mainly for Americans living abroad.

    I’m not familiar with Pfaff. I’ll look for him, though, next time I check the Herald Tribune. (I think the whole world knew what would happen to us in Iraq, except George Bush.)

    As for the drug reps, I’ve heard it’s a very lucrative career. The doctors ought to just tell em, “l’ll have my people call your people,” and refuse to see them. (Sadly, we all love freebies. Even doctors.)

  4. God some people are naive. If you genuinely believe your doctor can be swayed by pizza and pens, maybe you should change doctors. Being a pharma rep is not as glamourous as it seems, it requires a lot more than gifts and food to succeed. The fact that your narrow minded view is only allowing you to see this suggests that you haven’t a clue what you are talking about and do not see the real value that reps add to a surgery. Did you know that 80% of GP’s gain all of their medical continuing education through seeing reps? They are kept up to date and on top of new developments in treatment, safety and what is best for your children. It is not just a junket, I can assure you of that.
    I never said being a pharma rep was glamorous or easy, and I did say they provide a useful service. In a well-run office, however, patients should never be kept waiting while reps schmooze with the doctors. As for medical education, doctors are required to take certified CME courses every year or two to keep their skills and knowledge up to date. Reps should be teaching only about products they sell. I’d have serious reservations about any doctor who relied primarily on biased sales reps for his medical education.

... and that's my two cents