Three Diabetes Drugs On Dubious List Of Most Heavily Promoted Drugs by Pharmaceutical Companies

A report jointly published by Pro Publica and the New York Times has revealed that most commonly, when drug companies throw money at doctors to promote their drugs, the drugs in question are not innovative or curative, but rather of the 'me-too' variety.

The report identified 20 drugs that drug companies are shelling out the most money to doctors in order to promote sales. This information was found by accessing a database known as Open Payments, which only covers the last five months of 2013.

Drug companies promote their drugs by treating physicians to meals, paying them speaking fees, consult fees, paying them to give promotional speeches and giving them dangerously vague-sounding "educational gifts".

Three type 2 diabetes drugs are on the list:

  • -- At number one is Victoza. Novo Nordisk paid doctors a whopping $9.1 million. More specifically, they made a total of 120,677 payments to doctors and teaching hospitals in those five months.
  • -- At number four is Invokana. Animas Corporation, Janssen Pharmaceuticals and Johnson and Johnson paid out $7.2 million spread out across 93,159 payments, to doctors and teaching hospitals to promote this drug,
  • -- At number fourteen is Tradjenta. Boehringer Ingelheim and Eli Lilly paid doctors and teaching hospitals $4.2 million spread out across 85,649 payments in an effort to get these doctors to tout their drug and prescribe it to their patients.

The report revealed that most often, the drugs that these companies were so anxious to promote were not medical breakthroughs or great pharmaceutical innovations, but rather me-too drugs—drugs that merely piggy-back on the success of some other company's truly innovative drug. Typically, drug companies get aggressive about promoting those drugs that under-perform according to Wall Street's expectations.

Read the article here: Vying for Market Share, Companies Heavily Promote 'Me Too' Drugs.

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