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Today, the Washington Post published an op-ed from a physician who has first-hand experience being influenced by Big Pharma’s gifts such as free lunches in trendy restaurants.

The author points out that in 2012, Big Pharma spent $24 billion marketing branded drugs to healthcare providers, which is approximately eight times the amount spent on consumer advertising. While some hospitals have enacted policies or bans limiting the influence of Big Pharma on doctors, the practice continues across the country.

In fact, the Journal of the American Medical Association published a study last month showing that doctors from hospitals that limited or banned Big Pharma marketing practices ordered significantly fewer promoted brand-name products and prescribed more generics compared to other hospitals. In another 2016 study, ProPublica found that doctors who received payments from drug and medical device companies were more likely to prescribe branded medications.

While this is not a new practice, it is a particularly unsettling dynamic given the increase of high-priced prescription medication on the market. Americans have a right to access safe and affordable medication and we believe that influencing doctors who advice patients on the best course of treatment at affordable prices is bad medicine.

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