A national advocacy group is raising concerns about the relationship between doctors and pharmaceutical companies in Wisconsin.
Pens and notepads with pharmaceutical company logos on them can be a common sight in doctors’ offices. Peter Wyckoff of Community Catalyst says they may seem harmless, but they could actually be increasing the cost of prescription drugs.
Wyckoff says marketing represents nearly 30-percent of the cost of drugs, while research and development account for only about 15-percent of the price. He says Wisconsin should consider passing restrictions or even a ban on gifts from drug makers to doctors.
Wyckoff says lunches and pens are all designed to open door for sales representatives, and can create a need for reciprocity among doctors. In addition, he says many physicians have some level of clinical relationship with drug companies, which could also influence their health care decisions.
Pharmaceutical companies have argued that marketing efforts, such as gifts to doctors, are needed to help promote new medications. Wyckoff says all they do is undermine the confidence of patients.
Wyckoff’s testimony was part of a hearing at the state Capitol Wednesday on how to better control the cost of health care.