In an effort to expand the market for prescription drugs when patents are on the verge of expiration, the pharmaceutical industry has allegedly been knowingly and intentionally marketing off-label drugs in a manner entirely inconsistent with federal drug regulations. Accordingly, plaintiff lawyers and firms have gotten together to shed light on this allegedly widespread illegal practice. These attorneys consist primarily of solo practitioners and members of small law firms that specialize in drug industry whistle-blower claims and related areas of the law such as deceptive trade practices claims.
Pharmaceutical companies use devious tactics to help them create this increased demand for their drugs. It has been alleged that the companies promote sales with false claims, offer doctors outrageous consulting fees and lavish gifts, and provide anonymous articles to medical journals and publications which are frequently sponsored by the company’s own research studies. This has the effect of creating the science and message necessary to fool the public into believing that the very same drugs they have been taking for extended periods of time have recently proved beneficial for other uses just before the patent’s silver slipper is to vanish.
Recent settlements of sometimes enormous proportion connected with illegal off-label drug marketing have attracted the attention and awareness of the public at large. Furthermore, new cases are beginning to emerge alleging illegal off-label drug marketing. For example, just this past February the Justice Department filed a lawsuit under the False Claims Act against a pharmaceutical manufacturer for allegedly illegally marketing the common antidepressant drugs Lexapro and Celexa for off-label use in pediatrics.
Pharmaceutical giants encourage their sales representatives to boost sales by providing these employees with hundreds of thousands of dollars to spend on doctors who sell the off-label drugs. Whether these doctors receive their incentive in the form of a direct kickback, weekend getaway or golf trip, there are numerous ways in which the drug manufacturers encourage doctors to write the desired prescriptions. Former pharmaceutical company sales reps and whistleblowers are alleged to have reported that at least some of the manufacturers maintain private company records to document and supervise which doctors are moving the most and least number of pills.
It is yet to be seen exactly what effect the off-label drug marketing scene will have on the consumers and providers of healthcare services and prescription medications. At the moment, though, the public should remain curious and skeptical when it comes to drug marketing campaigns. It is near inevitable that more lawsuits will be filed as drug manufacturers continue to use illegal off-label marketing campaigns to boost prescription drug sales. If you or a family member has been injured by way of an adverse incident that occurred in a pharmacy, doctor’s office or hospital, you need the assistance of an experienced and aggressive personal injury and medical malpractice law firm. Rue & Ziffra, P.A., is conveniently located in Port Orange and is proud to serve the entire East Central Florida area. Call our law offices at 1-888-246-8613 or browse our website at www.RueZiffra.com if you feel that you have been injured by someone else’s negligence or carelessness.