Blurred Ethical Lines Worry Advocates As Companies Use Patients To Sell Treatments

Blurred Ethical Lines Worry Advocates As Companies Use Patients To Sell TreatmentsBlurred Ethical Lines Worry Advocates As Companies Use Patients To Sell Treatments

The manufacturers of hemophilia and other drugs and the specialty pharmacies that dispense the medicines have been hiring patients or family members to sell their products. Some are concerned this practice is causing consumers to be misled by people they are more inclined to trust. In other pharmaceutical news, the Federal Trade Commission reports “pay-for-delay” deals have dropped following the Supreme Court ruling on the issue.

The New York Times: Hemophilia Patient Or Drug Seller? Dual Role Creates Ethical Quandary LaQuenta Caldwell-Moody considered it improper when a pharmacy sales representative tried to take her teenage son, when he was still a minor, to dinner without her. The salesman was the father of someone with hemophilia, the same disease her son has. But this invitation seemed mercenary, taking advantage of their friendship and shared illness to try to woo the business of her son, Austin Caldwell, whose drug treatments cost more than $1 million a year. … The companies, and some patients, say the practice can improve service. But some patient advocates say that having people with dual, and sometimes dueling roles, can result in patients being misled by someone they think of as their friend but who puts profits over their health. (Pollack, 1/13)

Reuters: Controversial ‘Pay-For-Delay’ Deals Drop After FTC’s Win In Top Court Branded drug companies hammered out far fewer deals with generic drug makers to delay sales of cheaper medicines in the year after the Supreme Court ruled the Federal Trade Commission could legally pursue such agreements as potentially illegal. The FTC, which has fought the practice for years, said that pharmaceutical companies reached 21 of the “pay-for-delay” deals in fiscal 2014, compared with 29 in 2013 and a record 40 in 2012. (Bartz, 1/13)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

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