Pharma’s addiction to consulting companies

SUMMARY: According to the NY Times “McKinsey offered advice to a drug company on how to increase opioid sales at a time when abuse of its pain medicine was widespread. Earlier this month, the State of Massachusetts released new documents from 2013 that detailed McKinsey’s recommendations on how Purdue Pharma could “turbocharge” sales of its widely abused opioid OxyContin. The state said McKinsey advised Purdue to sharply increase sales visits to targeted doctors and to consider mail orders as a way to bypass pharmacies that had been tightening oversight of opioid prescriptions.

The Times further states “McKinsey recommended “targeting and influencing” doctors who specifically treat back pain in the elderly and those in long-term care. The consultants also advised the company to move physicians who were “stuck” in prescribing less potent opioids into prescribing stronger formulations.”

OK, those of us in the industry know about the “churn and burn” company consulting teams made up of MBA’s who use spreadsheets and Power Points to step on patients and HCP’s. McKinsey is not about patients or pharma companies reputations; it’s about maximizing profits and all other things be damned.

Drugmakers spent a record amount of money lobbying Congress in the first half of the year

Via the Financial Times, “the industry group Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America spent $16.1m on lobbying in the first half of this year, up 4 percent from its previous record of $15.5m in the first half of 2018, according to congressional filings. PhRMA, which did not respond to a request for comment, also broke its record for a full year in 2018, dishing out $27.5m in total.

America’s Health Insurance Plans, which advocates on behalf of health insurers, spent $5.1m on lobbying, up 37 percent from the same period the year before. The American Hospital Association, a group of healthcare providers, increased its outlay by almost 10 percent to $10.2m, while the American Medical Association, the largest association of doctors in the US, spent $11.5m, 6 percent more in the first half of 2019 than in the same period the year before.

There is just too much, in profits, for these companies to stand idly by and do nothing even as the public and politicians continue to unite in their calls for healthcare reform. It’s doubtful the Senate will vote on any legislation for healthcare as McConnell continues to block democracy.