Prescription Drug Regulation, Promotion, And Advocacy Has Gotten More Vexing In 2017

Health Affairs Blog, 23 March 2017
Author: Jerry Avorn
“Early 2017 has been one of the most interesting and challenging times for anyone concerned with medication regulation and evidence-based prescribing — as well as for the patients and health care professionals who will be so heavily impacted recent policy changes.”
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Drug companies pay doctors, nurses $9.5 million in six months for advice, event attendance

SMH, 3 March 2017
Author: Daniel Burdon
“The giants of the global pharmaceutical industry have continued paying doctors and nurses for their advice and to attend events, shelling out at least $9.5 million in six months for such services last year.”
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UK pharma firms accused of illegal deals to hike price of life-saving drug

The Guardian, 3 March 2017
Author: Angela Monaghan
“Two drugs firms have been accused by the competition watchdog of making illegal deals in order to inflate the price for life-saving hydrocortisone tablets in the UK. It is alleged that Actavis UK incentivised its rival Concordia not to enter the market with its own version of the tablets so that it could remain the sole supplier of the drug in the UK and charge higher prices.”
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More Than 80 Percent of Patient Groups Accept Drug Industry Funds, Study Shows

NYT Health, 1 March 2017
Author: Katie Thomas
“Dr. Emanuel, who previously advised President Obama on health care, said patient groups were far less transparent about conflicts of interest than medical researchers, who are now pushed to disclose ties to the drug and device industries when they write articles and make public appearances.”
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Pediatric Drug Formulations — Unintended Consequences of Legislation

N Engl J Med 2017; 376:795-796
Authors: Luke A. Probst, Thomas R. Welch
“The media have been replete with reports of ways in which the pharmaceutical industry has been able to increase revenue from medications that have been available for decades. We report a new variation of particular consequence to pediatricians and children.”
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Unproven alternative medicines recommended by third of Australian pharmacists

The Guardian, 13 February 2017
Author: Melissa Davey
“Nearly one third of pharmacists are recommending complementary and alternative medicines with little-to-no evidence for their efficacy, including useless homeopathic products and potentially harmful herbal products.”
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Sen. Grassley Launches Inquiry Into Orphan Drug Law’s Effect On Prices

NPR, 10 February 2017
Author: Sarah Jane Tribble
“Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has opened an inquiry into potential abuses of the Orphan Drug Act that may have contributed to high prices on commonly used drugs.”
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Drug Makers Accused of Fixing Prices on Insulin

NYT, 30 January 2017
Author: Katie Thomas
“A lawsuit filed Monday accused three makers of insulin of conspiring to drive up the prices of their lifesaving drugs, harming patients who were being asked to pay for a growing share of their drug bills. The price of insulin has skyrocketed in recent years, with the three manufacturers — Sanofi, Novo Nordisk and Eli Lilly — raising the list prices of their products in near lock step, prompting outcry from patient groups and doctors who have pointed out that the rising prices appear to have little to do with increased production costs.”
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Exclusive: Canada seeks warnings on prescription painkillers amid rising deaths

Reuters, 23 January 2017
Author: Anna Mehler Paperny
“As deaths from powerful painkillers continue to rise, Canada is pursuing unprecedented measures to curb their use, including requiring cigarette-style warning stickers on every prescription, Health Minister Jane Philpott told Reuters.”
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Drugmakers Manipulate Orphan Drug Rules To Create Prized Monopolies

Kaiser Health News, 17 January 2017
Author: Sarah Jane Tribble and Sydney Lupkin
“A Kaiser Health News investigation shows that the system intended to help desperate patients is being manipulated by drugmakers to maximize profits and to protect niche markets for medicines already being taken by millions. The companies aren’t breaking the law but they are using the Orphan Drug Act to their advantage in ways that its architects say they didn’t foresee or intend. Today, many orphan medicines, originally developed to treat diseases affecting fewer than 200,000 people, come with astronomical price tags.”
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