June 21, 2007
Adams: Crackdown on pharmaceutical 'gifts' unhealthy for care, economy
Proposals in Albany aimed at cracking down on pharmaceutical companies' “gifts” to doctors would undermine the quality of health care and damage the state's economy, Business Council President and CEO Kenneth Adams wrote in an op-ed for the Rochester Democrat & Chronicle.
The op-ed is available online at www.democratandchronicle.com/apps/pbcs.dll/section?Category=OPINION.
“The AARP claims drug companies are showering doctors with gifts, dinners, and trips to get them to prescribe expensive name-brand drugs,” Adams wrote. “The insinuation is that doctors would prescribe less expensive generic drugs more often, if not for favors from the drug companies.”
Pharmaceutical companies provide doctors with educational materials offering scientific details about the advantages of (and, where needed, the cautions about) the latest drugs, Adams wrote.
“They deliver this through in-person visits, seminars and other outreach events where doctors can hear from, and question, experts in the field," Adams wrote. "Better health care for all depends upon doctors having access to this kind of information.”
“Of course the pharmaceutical companies want to sell their drugs,” Adams wrote. “But that's a good thing. Pharmaceutical research and development are good for New York's economy, and for our state's growing biotech sector — especially in the Rochester area. It's exactly the kind of high-tech, high-wage and growing industry upstate needs.”
More to the point, if the pharmaceutical companies can't sell their newest drugs, they'd never be able to develop them in the first place, Adams wrote. “How else could they afford the staggering cost — an average of $800 million — of discovering new drugs and bringing them to market?”
And while generic medications have their place in the marketplace, they are yesterday's brand name drugs. “They wouldn't exist if the companies that developed them couldn't price them initially in a way that recovered their costs,” Adams wrote.
“Better drugs mean better health care for all of
us,” Adams wrote. “Let's encourage their development
— not stop it.”