Time to Let the Sunshine In

By AARP Executive Vice President Debra Whitman, Ph.D. and AARP Director of Health Services Research Leigh Purvis Starting today, AARP members and consumers of all ages will be able to get a better idea of what may be driving their health care provider’s decisions thanks to the Physician Payments Sunshine Act, or Sunshine Act. The Sunshine Act requires drug and medical device manufacturers to publicly report virtually all payments, gifts, and other services provided to health care providers and teaching …

Drug Company to Pay $2.2 Billion in Risperdal Settlement

We hear a lot about how older Americans have difficulties with their prescription medications. That makes it all the more disturbing when a pharmaceutical company takes advantage of them by promoting a drug as safe and effective for a certain condition – like, say, dementia - when in fact it may not be. According to the Justice Department, that’s what Johnson & Johnson did in marketing its antipsychotic drug Risperdal to older adults and other vulnerable patients. Now the company will …

Does a Top Drugmaker’s Playbook Stifle Competition?

If you owned the bestselling prescription drug of all time and its patent was about to expire, how would you prepare for competition from generic drugs? You might look at what Pfizer did when time was running out on its patent for the cholesterol-lowering drug Lipitor, which by 2011 had become the all-time bestselling prescription drug of any kind. And you could save yourself some time by reviewing a new AARP Public Policy Institute case study of Pfizer’s approach. The …

New Website to Post Payments to Doctors From Health Industry

By Ankita Rao, Kaiser Health News Blog For the first time, the government will make information about financial relationships between doctors, teaching hospitals and drug manufacturers publicly available. To comply with a provision in the Affordable Care Act, drug and device manufacturers, along with group purchasing organizations, will have to disclose all of their payments and other compensation to physicians and teaching hospitals. Those who don’t comply could be fined. The information will be gathered beginning in August and disclosed by Sept. 30, …

Study: Doctors Give In to Patient Demands for Brand-Name Drugs

By Alvin Tran of Kaiser Health News Doctors are more likely to prescribe brand-name drugs over lower-cost generics when patients request them and when physicians have contacts with drugmakers, a study published in JAMA Internal Medicine Monday shows. The researchers from Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston analyzed data from a survey of 1,891 doctors in 2009 and found that 37 percent of  doctors admitted to sometimes prescribing a brand-name drug at a patient’s request even though a generic version of …

Testosterone for Sale (Though Many Docs Don’t Buy It)

Weight gain, fatigue, loss of athletic prowess? “It could be Low-T,” says Abbott Laboratories. That would be low testosterone – a “once-natural part of getting old that has become a target for medical treatment,” as the Associated Press puts it. Abbott is one of several U.S drug companiesmarketing testosterone gels, patches or injections to men over 40.