Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Eli Lilly "Slashes" Hired Gun Payments in Response to Dr. Drug Rep

One of my moles in the upper echelons of the pharmaceutical industry informed me that officials at Eli Lilly are changing some payment policies to hired guns in response to the article, Dr. Drug Rep.

Prepare to be underwhelmed.

The officials involved were apparently discussing the negative publicity generated by the article, and decided to put a more stringent cap on their payments to physicans who hawk their drugs to other doctors. In the past, there was a $100,000/year maximum for regular talks, with an option of tacking on an extra $50,000 for certain "brand-specific" talks, such as talks specifically relating to Zyprexa or Cymbalta. So the maximum was $150,000 per year, and many doctors were happily maxing out at that figure. Reportedly, Lilly is worried that allowing physicians to make "6 figures" for whoring themselves appears unseemly, so as of 2009, the total cap will be slashed to...drum roll please...$75,000/year. That's only 5 figures.

The physicians affected are unlikely to be hitting the welfare rolls soon, however, as they might be able to make up this lifestyle-threatening shortfall by engaging in a novel professional activity--treating patients.


Jim Sabin said...

Thanks for continuing to track this story, and for surfacing it in the first place in the New York Times!

Roy said...

Thank you for finding us at Shrink Rap and adding us to your blogroll. I like what you are working on over here at the CPB.

Be sure to check out our My Three Shrinks podcasts (no iPod needed).

PS: Maryland has a bill before the legislature that would allow docs to opt out of the whole drug-reps-know-everything-I'm-prescribing thing.

Daniel Carlat said...

And they can also do a partial, temporary opt out through the AMA website. I believe doctors should have to opt in for their prescription data to be made public. But states that have passed such legislation have seen these bills overturned by judges in the thrall of some very well-paid attorneys.

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should just ban drug companies altogether and let the government develop drugs! Or better yet, lets stop the drug companies marketing drugs and making money so that the government has to discover drugs. And while we are at it, since health care should be free, lets cut what Dr.'s get reimbursed- especially psychiatrist because lets face it $150 for 15min of med management is way overcharging for what a patient gets. I should run for president!

Thought Leader said...

You're totally missing the point. Lilly (and the other companies)know the "programs" are a sham. They get their return on investment from the intensive marketing of high prescribers that occurs in the guise of "speaker training". They have to do the programs to stay out of trouble with the inspector general for violating PHRMA guidelines.

Think about it-if you were the feds and suspected a company was buying scripts, would you be more concerned about 10 docs making 500K (probably not home enough to see too many patients), or 500 high prescribers getting 10K each?