Friday, December 7, 2007

Lilly's Diplomatic Reponse


"Dear Dr. Carlat - We are sorry that you misunderstood the purpose and the message of the risk management program that Lilly supported.

The underlying message of this program is that the best way for psychiatrists – and all physicians – to manage their risk of litigation, happens to be to do what’s also best for their patients – provide good clinical care, be informed, communicate and document the care.

With the barrage of plaintiffs’ lawyer advertising – against Lilly medicines and numerous products made by other pharmaceutical companies – we know that there is misunderstanding and anxiety in the psychiatric community about the risk of litigation and malpractice. For example, Lilly and the National Council for Community Behavioral Healthcare announced in June, 2007, the results of a survey of 400 psychiatrists that showed that more than half had patients who stopped taking antipsychotic medication or reduced their dosages based upon fears raised by law firm advertising. We believe that any information that can help a physician reduce this anxiety and uncertainty will also help return his or her focus to good patient care, which is what is most important.

This program is an attempt to provide helpful, independent, non-product-specific information to psychiatrists to keep the risk of litigation in perspective and to understand what they can appropriately do to reduce that risk.

Initial feedback from psychiatrists who have participated in the program has been overwhelmingly positive.

Please don't hesitate to contact me if you have additional questions.

Marni Lemons

Global Product Communications
Eli Lilly and Company"

What's that in the air? Ahhh, the sweet smell of damage control.

3 comments:

Stephany said...

You know I hate canned answers that come out of corporate damage control keeper's of the store.

This reminds me of the canned answer bullshit I received from the PR person representing the Admin at a school district. I could hold the phone away from my ear, bleh bleh bleh and know I was going to get "don't hesitate to call again" shit.

So I didn't call her again. I went straight into the offices to the big boss to hear her own BS.

Interesting after that, she always shook my hand and asked about my daughter in public arenas.

I cannot decide which part of this psych world crap I despise the most. It's all politicized, generalized and unethical in appearance.

I'm not so sure how much truth is being written here either. I find it hard to believe a psychiatrist can bite the hand that feeds him and still type this stuff, and not leave something out.

James M. La Rossa Jr. said...

As a general concept, I don't see the harm in minimizing physician liability, or, rather, educating doctors about real-world legal boundaries — which they don't teach in medical school. As we all know, the "rationale" behind medical lawsuits run the gamut — from real malpractice — to plain greed and avarice — so why not applaud a program that tries to even the playing field? Is the uniform criticism here because the advice is from Lilly? Or that Lilly's antipsychotic has become a lightening rod for these lawsuits — and, thus, this kind of physician-education is a ruse of Lilly's construct?

Isn't Lilly, in effect, giving physicians the kind of advice that the Eight Circuit court in determining the "Learned Intermediary" doctrine, could not have envisioned in 1966? (Mentioned by Joe Lex in a prior blog.) In today's climate, is the avoidance of false legal claims against the prescriber of a drug part of what constitutes "disclosure of information from the manufacturer to the doctor, who must then weigh the benefits of any medication against its potential dangers?"

Zyprexa's a great case-in-point: When it was first released there was almost unanimous agreement that it was a very efficacious drug with a lousy side-effect trade off (weight gain) that was looked at, by some clinicians, as a necessary evil.

The emergence of drug-induced diabetes was learned over time after reportage in medical journals. (See, Disturbed Glucose Metabolism Among Patients Taking Olanzapine and Typical Antipsychotics, By Boadie W.Dunlop, MD, Maya Sternberg,PhD, Lawrence S. Phillips, MD,
Judy Andersen, RN, and Erica Duncan, MD.
Psychopharmacology Bulletin.2003;37 (3):99-117.)

The big question for me, then, is... When Lilly actively disputed those findings, was the company's credibility so damaged as to negate legitimate future benefit to physicians who prescribe atypicals? Many of you seem to be answering in the affirmative. I honestly don't know. I look forward to reading future blogs on this.

James M. La Rossa Jr.
MedWorks Media Global
Los Angeles

Anonymous said...

Ironically, the pharma company mentioned in this post, and what was said by its spokesperson, illustrates the definition of delusional behavior, does it not?