New Year's Resolutions for the Pharmaceutical Industry
Our Reps Will Wait Their Turn To See The Doctor
They will not be dressed to star in music videos. Prior experience at Hooters or Work Out World will not be sufficient for hiring. They will not call the doctor dude. Reps will not laugh, complain about sales on their cells or get a special room with swivel chairs, ice water and a place to plug in their laptop. We understand others waiting to see the doctor are sick.
We'll Stop Selling Diseases
We are sorry about all the people who developed GERD, seasonal allergies, insomnia, depression, bipolar disorder, mania, restless legs, ADHD, social anxiety, seasonal affective disorder, excessive sleepiness, generalized anxiety and every kind of arthritic and muscle pain known to man because of our advertising. Especially because the patents have run out.
We'll Stop Selling Riskof Diseases
We admit that scaring people into taking meds for the risk of heart attack, stroke, diabetes, cancer, asthma, osteoporosis, menopause, old age and even influenza is unconscionable. They never know if the expensive meds they take every day are working – and they'll probably need other meds for side effectsthey'll develop. But it worked.
We Will Leave Poor Countries Alone
We will stop outsourcing manufacturing to factories in countries so poor workers don't know the dangers, can't refuse or both. We'll stop conducting clinical trials on people who can't give informed consent and think they're getting medical care. And finally, we will stop exporting meds like the HPV vaccine or cholesterol drugs to people whose major health problems are malaria, diarrheal diseases, potable water — and us.
We'll Admit Our Livestock Drugs Are People Drugs
We acknowledge that the ten million pounds of tetracycline and other antibiotics we use a year to keep caged farm animal alive are going right into people's dinners and waterways. We'll further admit they are creating resistant bacteria which are also going into people and their waterways. P.S Half of U.S. pigs and cows are fed the asthma drug ractopamine which people don't even know about yet.
We Will Stop Financing Patient Front Groups ("Astroturf")
We admit the flash mobs that materialize at FDA hearings to beg for an expensive drug to be approved are aggregated and paid for by us. So are groups that swarm Medicaid offices demanding that a cheaper drug not be substituted for an expensive one. Why else would they only lobby for new patent drugs and have such fancy web sites?
We'll End Mickey Mouse Sales Presentations Disguised as Continuing Medical Education
Maybe a course called "Quadrivalent HPV Vaccine May Be Effective in Women 24 to 45 Years Olds" funded by the vaccine's seller isn't objective. Maybe the test question "What was the main conclusion of the current study of HPV vaccine among women between the ages of 24 and 45 years?" is insulting and the answer's in the title. At least we gave the courses, which docs need to keep their state licenses, free!
We'll Stop Sacking Medicare and Medicaid
We will stop conspiring with pharmacy benefit managers to sell our drugs when they're supposed to negotiate our best price for their health plan clients. We'll stop tampering with state officials to get our drugs on medication algorithms. We will stop lying to the government about the Average Wholesale Price (AWP) we charge providers and pocketing kickbacks. We'll admit it stands for Ain't What's Paid.
We Will Stop Testing Drugs on the Public While the Public is Using Them
We admit leukemia drug Mylotarg and hypertension drug Thelin, both recently withdrawn, shouldn't have been fast tracked to market before safety studies under the The Prescription Drug User Fee Act (PDUFA). We also admit we marketed the heck out of withdrawn Meridia, Baycol and Trovan before their risks appeared. But how do you hold a drug back when you know, even after injury settlements, it will make a profit — like Vioxx?