Advair, Glaxo’s $4 Billion-a-Year Asthma Drug, Pushed in Key Study By Docs Paid by Drug Makers
When GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) reached its infamous $3 billion settlement with the US Department of Justice last summer, much of the attention was focused on the guilty pleas for misbranding the Paxil and Wellbutrin antidepressants and for failing to report safety data about the Avandia diabetes pill to the FDA (see Pharma news).
In fact, however, there were several transgressions, such as reporting false best prices and underpaying rebates owed under the Medicaid Drug Rebate Program and off-label promotion of several medications. One of these was the Advair asthma treatment and, as it turns out, the drug got an extra push from yet another dicey, behind-the-scenes scheme.
And that was? The growth in Advair sales – revenue has topped $4 billion annually for several years – followed new asthma treatment recommendations that were written in 2007 largely by doctors who received money from Glaxo and other drugmakers that market similar medications, according to The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel and MedPage Today.
Of the 18 members of the panel that wrote the guidelines, 15 had financial ties at the time to Glaxo or other drugmakers that market long-acting beta-agonists. And from 2009 through 2011, drugmakers that made long-acting beta-agonists paid more than $400,000 to nine doctors on the panel, according to ProPublica data cited by the news outlets.
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Ed Silverman is the editor of Pharmalot and a contributor to YCharts, which includes the just-released YCharts Pro Platinum for professional investors.