Big Pharma

Bad Day for Big Pharma: Obamacare Medical Transparency Laws Take Effect

Bad Day for Big Pharma: Obamacare Medical Transparency Laws Take Effect
ACA transparency laws start taking effect as government releases limited disclosure of Big Pharma payments to doctors. But what do the payments signify? What errors can be expected? More importantly, what's missing?
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Supply of Unproven Ebola Drug Now Exhausted, as People Continue to Die from Outbreak

Supply of Unproven Ebola Drug Now Exhausted, as People Continue to Die from Outbreak
A leading physician in Sierra Leone's fight against Ebola has died from the disease, an official said Wednesday, as it emerged that another top doctor last month was considered for an experimental treatment. There was very little of the experimental treatment available, which has stoked debate about ethics on who should get it even though it hasn't been tested in humans. There is no way of knowing if the drug, known as ZMapp, made a difference in the few people who have gotten the now-exhausted supply of the drug.
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Clarence Roy-Macaulay and Maria Cheng
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Doctor Who Prescribed More Clozapine Than TX, NC and FL Combined Suspended by IL Medical Board

Doctor Who Prescribed More Clozapine Than TX, NC and FL Combined Suspended by IL Medical Board
Illinois medical regulators have indefinitely suspended the medical license of psychiatrist Michael Reinstein, who prescribed more of the most powerful and riskiest antipsychotic drug clozapine than any other doctor in the country. The board determined that Reinstein received "illegal direct and indirect remuneration" from the maker of generic clozapine; did not consider alternative treatments for his patients; and disregarded patients' well-being because of potentially life-threatening side effects of the drug.
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Charles Ornstein
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Big Pharma Battles Doctors Over Costly Drug for Infants

Big Pharma Battles Doctors Over Costly Drug for Infants
A costly drug given mostly to premature babies is at the center of a clash between the manufacturer and the nation's leading pediatrician's group, which recommends scaling back use of the medicine. The dispute involves new guidelines from the American Academy of Pediatrics, which say medical evidence shows the drug benefits few children other than very young preemies.
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Lindsey Tanner
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Doctor Who? Physicians Who Refuse Big Pharma Money Get Error Message.

Doctor Who? Physicians Who Refuse Big Pharma Money Get Error Message.
The federal government has a word for physicians who don’t have financial relationships with pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers: “Error.” This week, the government began allowing doctors to log into a secure website to check the payments attributed to them by drug and device makers. This information will be made public later this year under the Physician Payment Sunshine Act. In advance, if doctors believe the material about them is wrong, they can contest it. But early reports suggest the new site has some glitches.
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Charles Ornstein
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16 of US's Top 17 Drug Companies Have Board Members Who Teach at Medical Hospitals

16 of US's Top 17 Drug Companies Have Board Members Who Teach at Medical Hospitals
Pharmaceutical company payments to doctors extend far beyond rank-and-file clinicians — and deep into the leadership of America’s teaching hospitals. A team of researchers examined the boards of the 50 largest drug companies and found that 40 percent — 19 companies — had at least one board member who also held a leadership role at an academic medical center. Sixteen of the 17 companies based in the United States had at least one. Several had more than one.
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Charles Ornstein
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Drug Company Agrees to Pay $27.6M to Settle Allegations Involving Chicago Psychiatrist

Drug Company Agrees to Pay $27.6M to Settle Allegations Involving Chicago Psychiatrist
Teva Pharmaceutical Industries Ltd. has agreed to pay more than $27.6 million to settle state and federal allegations that it induced Chicago psychiatrist Michael Reinstein to overprescribe clozapine, a powerful antipsychotic drug.
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Kara Brandeisky
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As Full Disclosure Nears, Drug Companies Slash Speaking Fees for Doctors

As Full Disclosure Nears, Drug Companies Slash Speaking Fees for Doctors
Some of the nation’s largest pharmaceutical companies have slashed payments to health professionals for promotional speeches amid heightened public scrutiny of such spending, a new ProPublica analysis shows. Eli Lilly and Co.’s payments to speakers dropped by 55 percent, from $47.9 million in 2011 to $21.6 million in 2012. Pfizer’s speaking payments fell 62 percent over the same period, from nearly $22 million to $8.3 million.
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Charles Ornstein , Eric Sagara and Ryann Grochowski Jones
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Amid Rampant Fraud, Medicare Moves to Tighten Oversight of Prescribers

Amid Rampant Fraud, Medicare Moves to Tighten Oversight of Prescribers
Ten years after Medicare’s vaunted prescription drug program was signed into law, the Obama administration and Congress are re-evaluating whether it does enough to stop inappropriate prescribing and fraud by physicians. Until now, the program’s top priority has been getting drugs into the hands of its elderly and disabled enrollees, earning it high praise from consumers and politicians. Medicare is now putting in place changes that would give greater priority to targeting fraud and curbing waste.
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Charles Ornstein and Tracy Weber
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'Pay-for-Delay' Earned Big Pharma $98 Billion on Just 20 Name-Brand Drugs

'Pay-for-Delay' Earned Big Pharma $98 Billion on Just 20 Name-Brand Drugs
Before the generic was released, people with high cholesterol paid as much as $205 for a 30-day prescription to Lipitor. The generic now costs them just $18 each month. The pay-for-delay tactic used by big pharmaceutical companies to keep generic drugs off the market earned them as much as $98 billion in total sales of just 20 name-brand drugs last year, according to a U.S. PIRG report.
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