According to a recent article in NaturalNews, pharmaceutical giant Eli Lilly has admitted to hundreds of millions of dollars in payoffs to doctors. Eli Lilly, founded in Indiana, makes billions of dollars every year off the sale of their patented drugs, which according to their television ads will cure whatever ails you. The company, which was originally founded by a chemist in the late 19th century now has offices in 18 countries, and its products are sold in 125 countries, with revenues exceeding $20 billion annually.
Most of the drugs Eli Lilly sells are available in other countries for much less than it is here in the United States. The pharmaceutical industry claims the reason is that the health care systems of other countries demand affordable medication, and they need somebody somewhere (the U.S.) to foot the research bill, so they can get the next patents lined up before others expire. Not only are we footing the bill, we have to deal with how the pharmaceutical machine warps the medical system. Recently it has become standard operating procedure for pharmaceutical giants to pay doctors and other healthcare professionals to promote their drugs. These payments influence doctors into becoming mouthpieces for a share of the drug company’s bottom line and dictating which medicines you take.
Beginning in 2012, all drug and medical device companies will be required to report their promotional expenditure numbers to the federal government, but several companies started disclosing their information in 2009. According to the disclosed information, last year Eli Lilly paid out more than $200 million in payments to doctors and healthcare providers for promoting their drugs. ProPublica.org’s Dollars for Docs database is tracking 11 other companies’ disclosures as well.
Eli Lilly was recently involved in a criminal settlement, and part of the agreement required the drug company to disclose these payments. They agreed to pay $1.4 billion to settle criminal and civil allegations of promoting drugs for unapproved uses. An official from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) testified that Eli Lilly concealed the risks of its schizophrenia drug Zyprexa from United States officials and knew the serious health risks it caused. Eli Lilly was also accused of defrauding Medicare/Medicaid and blatantly putting profit over the patient. The disclosure documents say the payments were for speaking, consulting, and research, as well as travel and meal reimbursement.
The newly required disclosures have some companies reevaluating their current strategy. Most of the pharmaceutical giants have lowered their promotional expenditures and explain the reduction on normal year-to-year fluctuations. Some experts believe physicians will begin backing away from these arrangements as well, as the increased scrutiny of the pharmaceutical sales practices also exposes their names and pay.