Sometimes you need to pay to get ahead

We’ve gotta hand it to GSK for taking the high road on physician payments for as long as they did. In 2013, after paying billions in fines to the Chinese and US governments in payments scandals, GSK figured it would be a good PR move to enforce a blanket ban on any payments to HCPs. But you know how the saying goes, nice guys finish last. Other major drugmakers didn’t follow GSK’s lead, leaving the company at a competitive disadvantage. So they’re getting rid of the blanket ban and making it more like a Snuggie ban—you know, with some holes to let them move around more easily. The company will resume payments in some restricted situations, like global experts speaking about their products, but well-below 2013 payment levels.

3. Free lunch and I’m IN…

…declared thousands of doctors everywhere. Apparently that’s all it takes for US physicians to be swayed on some pretty important decisions. Conducted by JAMA, the industry-wide study found that pharma-sponsored meals bought for doctors during a drug promotion (averaging less than $20 a plate) resulted in significant prescription increases for the promoted drugs to Medicare Part D patients. Take Bystolic for instance, a popular betablocker. Compared to un-fed physicians, those who received meals over 4 or more days increased Bystolic prescriptions by almost 14%. And you guessed it—more expensive meals, or more meals generally, means more prescriptions. To give context to these findings, industry-sponsored meals account for about 80% of all dollars in industry payments to physicians. Alternative explanations?