CBS News: Senators rail at big pharma’s secretive lobbying

Written by admin on May 31st, 2011

Despite his protestations, Senator Baucus has accepted over $1 million dollars in campaign contributions from Pharma and health professional during the past 6 years.

CBS News

Lovenox earned its maker – the French company Sanofi – more than $2 billion per year. So when the FDA began considering a cheaper, generic version of the costly drug in 2007, Sanofi sprang into action to try and slow the process.

Sen. Max Baucus (D-MT) called Sanofi’s actions “an outrage,” adding that “frankly we’ve got to find ways to stop it.”

Sen. Baucus chairs the Senate Finance Committee, which issued a report this week accusing Sanofi of “paying off doctors to lobby the FDA against generics.”

According to the report, the Society for Hospital Medicine received more than $2.6 million over 3 years from Sanofi for sponsorship and conferences. Sanofi urged them to send letters to the FDA questioning the safety of generics.

In an internal email, an executive at the society admitted it “has no history of making similar comments to the FDA” and lacked “the expertise and knowledge” to weigh in on the matter.

But the society sent two letters anyway. Warning in one, “an untested generic substitution…is not in our patients’ best interest”

Baucus said of the incident: “I think if the FDA receives letter recommendations from the medical companies, from doctors, they should have a disclosure requirement. That is, tell us Mr. Doctor, tell us Mr. Medical Association, are you bought and sold?”

Sanofi paid $2.3 million to the North American Thrombosis Foundation, which also wrote to the FDA to warn of the “potential for unanticipated adverse events” from generic drugs.

 

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