Pharmaceutical Company Payment to Doctors

California Bill Restricts Gifts to Doctors from Drug Companies

“Pressure to Prescribe” Even if Wrong Drug, or Wrong Use of Drugs

The California Senate passed Senate legislation that restricts pharmaceutical or drug companies from giving gifts and incentives to medical professionals. There is strong pressure put on pharmaceutical salespeople to convince doctors to prescribe, even if the drug has problems.

Historically drug makers gave flights, travel, speaking fees, entertainment, consulting payments, or other financial benefits to health care providers. Often this is seen as a ‘quid-pro-quo’ for prescribing their product.  This practice is legal in most states, including Louisiana, with some limits.

Senator McGuire opined “I’ll be the first to say that the vast majority of physicians and medical professionals put the needs of their patients first. There’s a reason why doctors answer the call to practice medicine – to help people in their time of need,”  However, he further added, “But growing evidence reveals that financial relationships between some physicians and pharmaceutical companies confirm what has been suspected – financial incentives change minds.”

A study by the University of California, San Francisco showed that health care providers – Doctors, Nurse Practitioners, Dentists, and other prescribers – who receive gifts such as travel, meals, speaking fees, and royalties were two to three times likely to prescribe a costly name-brand pharmaceutical than the equivalent generic drug.  Generic drugs are most often lower priced.

The Senate appeared to want to protect both patients and taxpayers, while also lowering the costs of prescription drugs. Personal Injury Law Firm is of the opinion that this type of legislation is on-track to help prevent abuse and should be considered by other states.