Drug Co. Accused Of Bribing Doctors To Prescribe Eye Drug

NYT has uncovered a program of hush-hush rebates they say Genentech gives to doctors to encourage them to prescribe the pricier eye medication Lucentis over cheaper alternatives.

Some doctors are calling it outright bribery and fear it will encourage more frequent injections, off-label uses, and discourage patients from using less costly medicine to treat the same issues.

Genetech said in a statement, “Rebate and discount programs are a common business practice across the industry, including in the field of ophthalmology” and that the programs “help reduce the cost of our medicines for hospitals, pharmacies and doctors.”

The doctors who become part of the program are not allowed to talk about the program’s existence. “The existence of this agreement is confidential,” says the contract they have to sign.

The first rule of eye club is that you don’t talk about eye club.

Genentech Offers Secret Rebates for Eye Drug [NYT]