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I was a drug rep. I know how pharma companies pushed opioids. - The Washington Post
For every dollar the pharmaceutical industry spends on research and development, it spends two on marketing. When I worked as a pharmaceutical sales representative in the neuroscience division of Eli Lilly, I was the living embodiment of this investment. I took doctors out to so many fancy Manhattan restaurants that the maitre d’s greeted me by name. The company hosted them at catered “speaking programs” and gave away tickets to baseball games and Broadway musicals. We even sent doctors and their families to sponsored academic conferences at tony resorts in Florida and California. During the day, if doctors didn’t have time to see me, I chatted up their receptionists, plying them with food and gifts (stress balls, umbrellas, clocks) and asking, breezily, which medications their bosses preferred prescribing, and why.

Nowadays, it’s not all fine wine and caviar. Since I left the industry in 2000, pharmaceutical marketing has changed — at least on the outside. After years of bad press, and with mounting fears of a regulatory crackdown, drugmakers adopted a voluntary code of conduct in 2009 that, among other restrictions, permits only “modest, occasional meals” in “appropriate circumstances,” facilitating “the exchange of medical and scientific information.” Though this curbed the most ridiculous excesses — no more “unrestricted grants” and way fewer free pens — research shows that even a $20 lunch can sway prescribing behavior. The fundamentals of the business remain the same: A good sales rep builds credibility with doctors by using scientific-seeming language to push the product and makes them feel subtly obligated to write more scrips.
pharmalot  medicine 
9 days ago by danwin
Data Touted by OxyContin Maker to Fight Lawsuits Doesn’t Tell the Whole Story
Example of reusing someone else's data to count something in an interesting way:

Downplaying its role in the opioid epidemic, Purdue Pharma has embraced a federal statistic showing it was a minor player in the pain pill market. But when we took drug potency into account, Purdue’s importance soared.


ProPublica analyzed the same data set touted by Purdue but accounted for the wide variation in strengths of prescription painkillers. Besides counting the number of pills sold, the analysis measured the amount and potency of opioid that they contained. Higher doses of opioids are associated with a greater risk of overdose.

On that basis, the market share of Purdue is 16% — about five times higher than the number cited by the company. That makes Purdue the third-largest seller of opioids from 2006 to 2012, behind generic pain pill makers Actavis Pharma and SpecGx, a subsidiary of Mallinckrodt.
pharmalot  data-journalism  analysis 
september 2019 by danwin
“Behave More Sexually:” How Big Pharma Used Strippers, Guns, and Cash to Push Opioids – Mother Jones
Around 2015, just before overdoses sweeping the country started making national news, a pharmaceutical sales representative in New Jersey faced a dilemma: She wanted to increase her sales but worried that the opioid painkiller she was selling was addictive and dangerous. The medication was called Subsys, and its key ingredient, fentanyl, is a synthetic opioid 100 times stronger than morphine.

When the rep, who requested to go by her initials, M.S., voiced her concerns to her manager, she was told that Subsys patients were “already addicts and their prospects were therefore essentially rock-bottom,” according to a recently unsealed whistleblower lawsuit that M.S. filed after leaving Insys in 2016. To boost her numbers, the manager allegedly advised M.S. to “behave more sexually toward pain-management physicians, to stroke their hands while literally begging for prescriptions,” and to ask for the prescriptions as a “favor.”
data-journalism  pharmalot  best 
june 2018 by danwin
Biopharma Can't Keep Getting Blindsided by Trump - Bloomberg Gadfly
This dream was a fiction. An early clue was a Time magazine interview in December, when Trump pledged to bring down drug prices, a warning that took 3 percent off the NBI. Then, in a press conference on Wednesday, Trump accused the industry of "getting away with murder" and pledged to save billions of dollars in government health-care spending by forcing companies to bid for business. That caused the NBI to immediately drop another 3 percent.
politics  pharmalot 
january 2017 by danwin
paulconley: Buying a blog. Validating a concept
"Canon Communications has purchased Pharmalot, the extraordinary little blog that has proven an inspiration to numerous standalone journalists. "
b2b  blogs  newspapers  pharmalot 
june 2010 by martinstabe
BeatBlogging.Org: Podcast: Silverman on lessons learned from Pharmalot
"Ed Silverman, one of the original and best beat bloggers, is leaving The Star-Ledger and Pharmalot. Silverman discussed both lessons he learned from Pharmalot and the reasons why he decided to move on in this week’s podcast. ..."
pharmalot  blogs  blogging  journalism 
january 2009 by martinstabe

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