Baker drug deals

24 05 2009

There will be more medical marketing musings over this week. There are few more articles in my backlog as I’ve been trying to work out what is and is not okay to do when engaging medical education activities.

But the final post today will be a little lazy. This was so obviously wrong.

The very recent Baker-Sanofi Plavix deal, which can be followed at Croakey.

sanofi-aventis ran an ad in a doctor’s journal that stated that for every Plavix script filled they would donate 25 cents to the Baker Institute. That sounds like a blatant attempt to increase sales of a prescription product based on something other than proven efficacy and/or safety of the product. When it comes to Medicines Australia, that’s a no no. Your doctor’s prescribing habits should be based on whether the drug is best choice for you. Nothing else.

Responses came in pretty quick. And then some. And Baker tried to defend the deal.

Other commentators brought up another issue – with Baker’s income stream being dependent on Plavix sales, they’d be nuts to publish (or even investigate) any research which might discredit the brand. Have they sacrificed independence, even if their agreement with sanofi was unconditional.

Now, I have heard that possibly the advertisement was misleading about the actual agreement between the two organisations* – but nevertheless the damage has been done. While engaging in “innovative” PR, it may be wise to consider why no one else is trying it out.

Speaking of innovative PR, sanofi has also launch a webTV channel, ironically touted to be “part of the company’s overall goal to increase transparency”. Wonder if they discussed this little blip much?

*There are plenty of perfectly safe and responsible ways in which industry can invest in objective basic research.

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15 06 2009
Back in the 80s in medical marketing « It’s Alive!!

[…] the medicines industry in Australia is compared to some other industries. It’s not perfect – people are always trying to push the boundaries[…]

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