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Are Drug Companies and Medical Device Manufacturers Hurting Patient Care?

The U.S. government is poised to implement new regulations that would require both drug and medical device companies to disclose payments they make to doctors for consulting work, research, lectures, and other activities. According to researchers, these payments can influence the cost and quality of patient treatment, by encouraging the use of more expensive drugs and medical devices.

Patient safety advocates argue that the requirements will increase the likelihood that doctors would make decisions in the best interests of patients, not their own wallet.

The New York Times reports that “doctors who take money from drug makers often practice medicine differently from those who do not and that they are more willing to prescribe drugs in risky and unapproved ways, such as prescribing powerful antipsychotic medicines for children.”

Under the new standards, if a company offers any product covered by Medicare or Medicaid, it must report all payments to doctors other than its own staff. The payment data will also be publicly available on the Internet.

Drug makers will be subject to a penalty up to $10,000 for each payment they fail to report. A company that knowingly fails to report payments will be subject to a penalty up to $100,000 for each violation, up to a total of $1 million a year.

If you or someone you love has suffered from a medical error, don’t hesitate to contact a San Diego medical malpractice attorney at the Law Offices of Robert Vaage for a free consultation.