Recently the French government fined Sanofi $53 million for what it called a smear campaign against a competitor drug manufacturer. Ranbaxy was fined $500 million, in part, for making false statements to the FDA. Last year the pharamaceutical industry in sum paid out $5.5 billion to resolve fraudulent marketing practices. These included $3 billion in fines against GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) and $762 million against Amgen. When these settlements were reached eight of the top 10 global pharmaceutical companies were under "corporate integrity agreements" (that require companies to report compliance activities via an independent monitor for five years). With governments recouping only a portion of drug company profits via these marketing practices many say pharma simply views the fines as a cost of doing business. (The day the GSK fine was announced, the largest of its kind in history, GSK's stock price actually closed up).
During this 23-minute interview Dr. Fugh-Berman discusses the types and pervasiveness of pharmaceutical marketing abuses, the public health consequences thereof, the adequacy of corporate integrity agreements and other efforts that promise to curb abuse (e.g., the Physician Payment Sunshine Act), her views regarding direct to consumer advertising, Pharmed Out's efforts to better educate (or insulate) physicians, patients and other consumers from marketing manipulation.
Dr. Adriane Fugh-Berman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Pharmacology and Physiology and in the Department of Family Medicine at Georgetown. She is also Director of PharmedOut a research and education project that promites rational prescribing and exposes the effect of pharmaceutical marketing on prescribing practices. Previously, Dr. Fugh-Berman was a medical officer in the Contraception and Reproductive Health Branch of the National Institute for Child Health and Human Development at the NIH. Dr. Fugh-Berman is the former chair of, and currently writes a column for, the National Women’s Health Network and she has appeared on 20/20, the Today Show and every major news network. Dr. Fugh-Berman graduated from Georgetown University School of Medicine and completed a family medicine internship in the Residency Program in Social Medicine at Montefiore Hospital in the Bronx.
For information regarding PharmedOut see: http://www.pharmedout.org/.