Tuesday, 20 of November of 2018

Virginia (VA) Doctors Received $7.8 Million From Drug Firms in 2010

If doctors are being paid large sums of money by drug companies there is sure to be pressure to use certain drugs.

By Jim Lewis, VA Medical Malpractice Attorney

Big pharmaceutical companies gave big bucks to Virginia’s doctors — $7.8 million to be precise — in 2010. And while some of that money funded research, $5.2 million went toward speaking and consulting fees for health care providers. The revelation has led to accusations of a too-cozy relationship between doctors and drug companies, the Virginian-Pilot reported. The figures are contained in the ProPublica journalism database.

“There has been growing concern about pharmaceutical payments to doctors,” the Pilot article states. “Consumer groups contend that payments, particularly those for promotional talks, gifts, meals and free samples, can cause doctors to be more likely to prescribe their patients medicines from those companies, and to overlook better or less expensive treatments.”

In the South Hampton Roads cities of Norfolk, Suffolk, Portsmouth, Virginia Beach and Chesapeake, doctors received $1.16 million in payments from no fewer than 11 drug companies in 2010. The largest sum was for speaking and consulting, at $831,380. Payments for research totaled $128,407.

As medical malpractice attorneys based in Virginia Beach who deal with the fallout from dangerous and inappropriate drugs, my colleagues and I are concerned by this report. If doctors are being paid large sums of money by drug companies there is sure to be pressure to use certain drugs; in other words the influence of the drug companies could override the needs of patients. And when things go wrong patients become clients.

We don’t need to look far to see some of the problems caused by drugs. A new report by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has revealed more deaths are being caused by prescription drugs than by traffic accidents. From 1999 to 2006, fatal overdoses from prescription drugs tripled in number, reaching 13,000.

When we read about drugs that have caused irreversible harm such as blindness in the case of Genentech’s Avastin (bevacizumab from Genentech) or Actos (pioglitazone from Takeda), which has been linked to bladder cancer, we have to wonder about the level of influence brought to bear on the medical profession by the drug companies.

To learn more, read this FAQ about what to do if you suffer an adverse reaction to a prescribed drug.


About the Editors: Shapiro, Cooper, Lewis & Appleton is a law firm whose Virginia/Carolina attorneys focus on injury and accident law and have experience handling medical malpractice cases involving hospital and doctor mistakes and nursing home abuse and neglect. Check out our case results to see for yourself. Though not every case meets our criteria, we offer free initial consultations. Give us a call at (800) 752-0042. If you can’t get through due to high call volume, leave a message so we can return your call. Also be sure to check out our free special report Top 10 Tips From a Medical Malpractice Insider. Our primary office is in Virginia Beach, Virginia (VA), but we also have offices in Hampton, VA, and Elizabeth City, North Carolina (NC). Our lawyers hold licenses in VA, NC, South Carolina (SC), West Virginia (WV), Kentucky (KY), Florida (FL) and Washington, DC. Rick Shapiro and James Lewis were included in the 2011 issue of Best Lawyers in America. They, along with fellow attorney John M. Cooper, were also named 2011 Virginia Super Lawyers for Personal Injury Law, an honor which fewer than 5 percent of outstanding lawyers receive. We also host an extensive injury law video library on Youtube. Further, our lawyers proudly edit the Virginia Beach Injuryboard, Norfolk Injuryboard and Northeast North Carolina Injuryboard blogs as pro bono public information services.