John Oliver does a brilliant job of explaining drug company marketing strategies and the implications for us. In short, the drug companies reward doctors to prescribe their drugs to us.
As Oliver explains, drug companies spend about $24 bilion a year marketing to doctors and generate more than fifteen times that, $329.2 billion, in revenue. They lavish doctors with free lunches and free samples; and they pay them to promote their drugs with other doctors. They buy the doctors’ influence.
And, their practices can be over the line legally. They have paid billions of dollars to settle lawsuits around allegedly irresponsible marketing practices. Clearly, these steep payments are more than worth the enormous profits the drug companies generate.
The Affordable Care Act now mandates that drug companies disclose the value of their payments to individual doctors. Check to see what your doctors are taking from them here. Once you know, it is worth considering whether you have the right doctors. And, watch the Oliver video.