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Drugmakers try to recast lagging image

Discussion in 'Current Events' started by wdlove, May 9, 2004.

  1. macrumors P6


    Tired of seeing his profession beaten up, Eliot Ohlstein has stepped out of the laboratory and onto the front lines of a battle to save the drug industry's reputation.

    His biggest weapon? Himself. The heart-drug researcher is appearing in a TV commercial meant to burnish the image of his employer, drugmaker GlaxoSmithKline. It is part of a broader, newly emerging public relations effort being waged by drugmakers.

    "We save as many lives, if not more, than firemen and policemen -- millions, if not hundreds of millions, of people," Ohlstein said in an interview. "But I'm never in a situation where someone says, 'He works for a drug company,' and the room breaks into applause."

    In fact, these days Ohlstein might get booed.

  2. macrumors member

    Prescription Drug companies are the end result of the MK ULTRA projects, and their only goal is to CONTROL THE MINDS OF AMERICANS. Prescription drugs in combination with government-controlled media are keeping America mindless and helpless.
  3. macrumors member

    I do hope thats sarcasm there

    I have nothing against people who work for drug companies (in fact I had a teacher who used to work developing prescription drugs, and he was a very nice guy, and fantastically intelligent), its the people who run them that I'm likely to disagree with. ok, so thay are running a business, and trying to make money, but price fixing and researching only in to only profitable areas just doesn't seem the right thing to do
  4. macrumors P6


    I have no doubt, but that the individual drug company workers are honest. Many for altruistic reasons. The problem is the leaders of those companies trying to please investors. Its all about profit. They control a lot of doctor decisions with gifts. The running of ads was a very sad day.
  5. macrumors 603


    i don't mind the way they only research profitable drugs, that's business sense, and it's not like passing laws would be fair to them. What pisses me off about drug companies is that they advertise heavily in the name of "public education" (it can be, to a point) and then give doctors payoffs to sell (prescribe) their drugs when the ever-willing consumers ask. They manipulate the healthcare industry for profit margin, and the medical industry must remain (or try to be) a pure science. Overmedication causes serious problems in both humans and the environment (that tainted urine does go into the wildlife at some point). Not to get political, but i think this is one of the few functions that a Perfect Government would serve, to immunize healthcare from capitalism.

    But, i have nothing against the researchers at drug companies, they're the ones on the forefront curing disease and furthering science. I have respect for that.

  6. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    It was a sad day when drug companies could advertise their wares. that lead us to the debacle of the "Medi-Care" reform. Many drugs are cheaper overseas than they are in the US. Depending on who you listen to, the blame is o the lawsuits, or the research costs, or the profit motive of the US healthcare system. Whether we want to hear or or not the truth lies in-between.
  7. macrumors 68040


    The drug companies have to have some way to inform doctors about their products. Plastering viagra all over a race car is a bit much though.

    I've spent enough time in Doctors offices to see some of what goes on. In addition to the ads aimed at consumers to tell Doctors to give them a pill or a shot(Epo was pushed for anemia. @$&@# expensive stuff, seemed to work okay though)

    There are drug reps who come by and sell to the doctors. They have suitcases full of gimmies and samples. They bring doughnuts, they take doctors out to lunch.

    There is a lot of money floating around for this and a lot of potential for corruption.
  8. macrumors member

    my mum is a nurse (pediatric diabetes specialist nurse, to be exact) and you wouldn't believe the amount for free stuff (mostly junk) that she gets from insulin companies. she's not the kind of person to be swayed by that, and doesn't make the decisions on what brand of insulin to use anyway. it seems rather pointless...

    I totally forgot about that, there are no drug advertisements in the UK. I have to say when I visited America I was appalled by the drug ads I saw
  9. macrumors 603


    They're doing more than that in some places... I've heard of vacations, memberships to exclusive golfcourses, all kinds of over-the-top gifts... it went from pens to weeks in the bahamas pretty fast. Doctors are just human. Many of them get wrapped up in the freebies, but try not to actually let themselves be swayed. Then drug companies start rewarding doctors based on number of prescriptions...

    i don't think it's fair to make doctors carry this burden. Prescription drug companies should not be allowed to advertise, instead they could optionally pay into a "public education fund" that would make people aware of diseases and the drugs that may help.

  10. macrumors 6502a

    :eek: :eek: WHAT?!!!

    If you are not profitable, you close your doors, how good would that be for the medical community?
    If you are not putting research into profitable areas, how are you going to make products for them?
    If you are not trying to make money, how do you keep your doors open?

    What the medical community and drug companies *NEED* to do, is to lobby Congress to try and stop govt-mandated price ceilings on drugs, and do so within the context of trade treaties with other countries.

    If it cost you $10million in R&D to make the successful drug, and another $90million in R&D for the failed drugs that had too many bad side-effects, that is $100million in R&D cost that you have to make up, *JUST TO STAY IN BUSINESS*.

    If there are 10million people in the US taking this life-saving drug, and 10million people in Canada taking the same drug, to break even they only have to charge $5 a person. If, all of a sudden, Canada says that they can only charge $2 a person in Canada, the 10million in the US now have to pay $8 a person.

    This scenario happens multiple times, where the profits of a current successful drug pays for the development of future drugs, successful or not. Affect the profits, and you affect the development of future drugs, that is not good.

    If you want cheaper drugs, what you should do is allow for more competition. Two companies can go after the same profitable market, and both could come up with successful drugs, they could then compete with each other for the business. Add more companies into the market, and some would start looking at the less profitable market because the others are fighting each other for the *MOST* profitable market.

    Price-fixing is if multiple companies collude into setting prices for the drugs. Good whistleblower protection laws, and enforcement of anti-trust laws would mitigate that.
  11. macrumors 6502a

    So, who's fault is it when someone asks to be medicated with the good drugs, and the doctor supplies the good drugs? Ever heard the saying "The customer is always right."? If the patient is willing to pay for the medication, why shouldn't the doctor supply it? How is it wrong for the doctor to be paid a 'sales commission' when she prescribes a drug? Salesmen get sales commissions.

    Maybe we should have urine collection, that way, we can 'recycle' drugs. That ought to make medication cheaper. :D
  12. macrumors 6502a

    Bennies would stop when doctors and pharmacists ask them to stop. So blaming pharmaceutical companies for it is only half the problem. Maybe what is needed is more competition, a more streamlined way to get drugs approved for use. That would reduce the amount of time the leading-edge company has a temporary-monopoly on a drug.

    Why should prescription drug companies not allowed to advertise? Haven't you forgotten... Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances. I would not throw that away for anything, even if I was the CEO of a mechanical medical device that filters toxins from the blood, and the prescription drug company would like to advertise a drug that turns toxins into solids that can be eliminated via the bowel. :eek:
  13. Ugg
    macrumors 68000


    That would be fine in your libertarian world where everyone paid for their own healthcare, but in a world of HMOs and limited access to healthcare for those without insurance, the reality is far different. The customer is making a decision based upon all those ads, not the most beneficial drug for his or her own situation. Many of the new drugs don't confer a benefit on the patient and tend to drive up the cost of healthcare.

    Now, if we all had Med. degrees and were able to make informed decisions rather than emotional ones then fine, but until then, drug ads are anethma. Not only that, but the drug industry in the US spends more on advertising that it does on basic research. Show me one other industry that does so, and I'll show you one heavily subsidised by the US govt.

    As far as your claim that R&D costs have to be recouped on a case by case basis, what a load of bunk. No business operates that way, if they did they would go belly up in a heartbeat.

    What needs to happen is instead of these idiotic drug discount cards that gw and the drug companies dreamed up, little more than a slight of hand to put more profits into the hands of the middleman and more hassle for seniors, is to let Medicare negotiate directly with the drug companies so that they are able to negotiate the lowest possible costs based on volume purchases. What other government agency is NOT allowed to do so? None, zilch, nada. Well, until the no-bid fiascos associated with the war in Iraq.

    gw and co. are ripping off Americans with their hare-brained overhaul of Medicare.

    Hope you're willing to help your parents and other elderly relatives figure out what it is that gw had done to them, because it is a nightmare.

    As to the title of this thread, sure, those who do the research should be accorded acclaim for their efforts. Progress has been phenomenal in the last few decades and many people's lives are better for it. But, when it comes to those who make the decisions, well......
  14. macrumors 6502a

    No one in this world is an expert in all things, that is why we visit and pay experts for their knowledge and advice. That is what you are paying the good doctor for, his knowlege and advice. If you are making your decision via the ads, and are not asking the doctor for her advice, why even consult with the doctor and pay for her services? If a new drug does not confer any benefits to the patient, and the patient asks the doctor for their expert advice, and is given bad advice, is that the doctor's fault, the patient's fault or the drug company's fault?

    And it doesn't have to be in any idealized world, that you seem to disparage. The above sentiment is applicable in all of them. We may have crossed verbal swords before, and it seems that the experience has led to to see red in my posts. :eek:

    Apparently, advertising is deemed to be helpful to the bottom line of drug companies, why shouldn't they avail themselves to it. It is not Congress' business or purview to limit speech, and that applies to people, groups of people, companies, etc.

    On the one hand, you would like to heap praise and kudos on the researchers, but you also throw daggers and mean intentions at the executives. Would you accord the same sentiment to a different industry, lets say, to a particular computer company based in Cupertino, California? Would you heap praise and kudos to the engineers and designers, and throw daggers and mean intentions to Steve Jobs and the board of directors?
  15. macrumors 603


    because of the nature of the heathcare industry, doctors should only prescribe drugs when appropriate for the patient's necessary benefit. The laws that make these drugs controlled substances spell that out. And let's be realistic, the drug companies have known that for a long time. They make substances that are only allowed in special situations. Prescription drugs, therefore, only have a potential market of those afflicted with the disease/disorder. They also knew that going in. But they decided to change the rules, quite recently (the last 20 years, or Since Prozac) to try and target consumers who don't genuinely have a disorder, specifically by describing (sometimes unrealistic) life enhancements (have more sexual stamina! feel happy all the time!) and by using generic symptoms that could be virtually any disease, big or small. Tired? Restless? Unsatisfied? Try Paxil. Try Viagra. Try Celexa. Try Flonaise. Ritilin is great for kids! See how much better life can be!

    it's the same concept as snake-oil, instead of curing diseases that don't exist, they "cure" diseases that do exist in people that don't have them. So doctors are put on the line, the only thing keeping consumers from drugs that the government itself has declared unsuitable for self-medication. So drug companies go after the doctors, finding all sorts of ways around laws designed to blockade them, giving perks to doctors willing to prescribe and endorse their drugs. Capitalism has just made it's way into your doctors office once again, and the consumer is the one to pay.

    Corporate free speech isn't absolute. Corporations are required to follow endless laws about advertising, financial operations, and yes, ethical responsibility in some cases. We don't have a free economy, like it or not.

  16. macrumors 6502a

    Customer is always right... maybe Brachs needs to set up a 'pharmaceutical' branch, and have doctors start 'prescribing' Paxilcebo, and Viagracebo, and Celexacebo. :D :p

    Capitalism has always been in your doctors office. Always had been.

    No rights are absolute, but I don't see corporations committing fraud or libel in their advertising.
  17. macrumors demi-god



    Just because someone asks for a drug doesn't mean the Doc has to prescribe it. I would rather know what drug options are out there and be able to say, "Hey doc, why is X better than Y?" as opposed to not know anything about drugs because I don't read the pharm trade mags.

    There are lots of companies that operate on a case by case basis and don't go belly up. Like the drug companies. Movie studios. Music Labels. Heck, any company that does R&D, that *creates* products, not just sells them, does this. Do you think that every product that Apple has ever R&d'd has ended up on the show room floor? Of course not. That's one reason why Apple hardware has a bit higher market than, let's say, Dell. Apple has to cover the costs of the products that hit the show room floor as well as the R&D costs of the products that didn't. Why do you think that drug companies are so scared not to get FDA approval? If they don't that's 10's, if not hundreds, of millions of dollars down the tube.

    And the way things typically work is drug companies are on a five year plan. Their goal is 5 years after a new drug is released it will cover it's R&D costs. That's five years of solid sales just to break even.

    I agree that "buying" docs is BS. But do you want to know what's more BS? Doc's that say, "I won't prescribe any of your companies drugs unless I get X, Y, and Z." Or Doc's that say, "Drug company X does such-and-such for me. What will you do for me?" I have 3 family members that work for a major drug company and they've, basically, told more than a few doc's "so long, we aren't going to bribe to you prescribe our meds." And the company they work for has told all it's reps to take it easy on the perks and the outings. But I'm sure they are still allowed to hand out all the pens and other cheap-@ss freebies they want at the Doc's office. I mean, you know how swaying a 5 cent bic pen w/the word "Viagra" on it, or a $2 alarm clock that says "Paxil" can be. Speaking of the outings those all come out of the rep's pocket. The drug companies don't give reps "spending cash" or anything like that (at least not the one my family members work for). And, no I'm not a huge fan of the company they work for either (it keeps f**king them over w/their quotas), but I just feel like if you are going to rail against something you should understand what you are railing against.

    Long story short, the docs the want to be bought scare me alot more than the drug companies.

    WTF do you have against Flonaise? That sh*t is the best allergy med on the planet. It doesn't have a "rebound" effect that crap like Afrin/over-the-counter nose sprays will have and, at least for me, it's been bullet proof. I used to have a major cat allergy (like 2 hours w/a cat and I could barely breathe) and now I l*live* w/cats.

  18. macrumors regular

    is it the government-controlled media, or the media controlled government?
  19. macrumors G3

    Chip NoVaMac

    And these vacations are in the disguise of "seminars".

    I wonder if the Canadian and European doctors see the same perks? Or is it the reason that people in the US pay far more than the rest of the world for prescription drugs.
  20. macrumors 603


    I would be very interested to hear international views on prescription drug prices and drug company lobbying/payoffs/advertising. one would think that in socialist healthcare some protections have to be in place to limit the drain on the system caused by unnecessary medication.

  21. macrumors 68040



    if you get a prescription from a doctor for medication (like antibiotika or similar) you have to pay 4,35 euro per prescription..... (when you get your medication from a drug store or however thats called ..)
    if your salery is less than 653 euro a month, you have to pay nothing for your medications if you get a receipt from your doctor..

    if you get no prescription you get only the prescription free medications...and you have to pay full price...(for example Aspirin)

    for advertising: only advertising on "prescription free" medications is allowed in TV and normal Newspapers...perhaps ads are allowed in medical magazines ??? don't know about that...

    actually the GKK ("Gebietskrankenkassa"= translates to "Regional National Health Insurance Office") of Vorarlberg made profit in the last 15 years (with last year an exception to the rule) and they save up money for the 'bad years'...
    but only 3-4 of the 9 austrian GKKs made profit as far as i know... not enough for a zero or positive number nation wide...

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