Drug Firms, Doctors, Defend Kickbacks and Bribes As Legal and Normal

"Drug companies and doctors are
fighting a Bush administration plan to restrict gifts and
other rewards that pharmaceutical manufacturers give
doctors and insurers to encourage the prescribing of
particular drugs. ... In contending that the proposed federal code of conduct
would require radical changes, those opposing the change
discuss their tactics with unusual candor and describe
marketing practices that have long been shrouded in
secrecy. Drug makers acknowledged, for example, that they routinely
made payments to insurance plans to increase the use of
their products, to expand their market share, to be added
to lists of recommended drugs or to reward doctors and
pharmacists for switching patients from one brand of drug
to another. ... But a coalition of 19 pharmaceutical companies, including
Pfizer, Eli Lilly and Schering-Plough, said the Bush
administration proposal was 'not grounded in an
understanding of industry practices.' The payments and
incentives to which the government objects are standard in
the drug industry, they said."