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Thursday, November 22, 2007

Kick backs for switching to generics

Three years ago,my brother-in-law was started on a brand name lipid lowering medications. He complained that he had about 80$ per month out of pocket expense. He believed that the physician received some type of kickback for prescribing the medication. I assured him that could not be case.

Now we see this news item in which we learn that physicians were paid to switch from a brand name drug to the cheaper generic. According to the news report some doctors in Michigan were paid $100 by Blue Cross for each patient they switched from Lipitor to a generic drug. A news release from the AMA warns physicians that this or similar activities is illegal.

More and more we witness the downward spiral of physician's ethics and pride.

1 comment:

Joseph j7uy5 said...

I heard (from a drug rep) that some pharmacies give the pharmacist a bonus ever time they talk a patient into accepting a generic instead of a brand-name product. (Although the brand-name product is more costly, the profit margin for the pharmacy is lower.) I don't know if this is true, and in any case it is not nearly so disturbing as what you describe, but it still is wrong.

I'm all in favor of generics, but the decision has to be made first on clinical grounds, then with consideration of the cost. Kickbacks have no legitimate place in the decision-making process.