A new form of inducement to doctors to prescribe drugs has been started in the US by two drug giants. Instead of the usual "conference" in the Bahamas, Upjohn and Eli Lilly are offering to indemnify doctors against any claims by patients who allege p
The practice was started by Eli Lilly in 1990 and by Upjohn a year ago and offers protection to all doctors facing litigation after prescribing Upjohn's triazolam (Halcion) and Eli Lilly's fluoxetine (Prozac). Their only caveat is that the drugs were prescribed properly and in accordance with federal, state and local laws and regulations.
Their offer seems to have met a cool reception. Eli Lilly reports that 5,000 doctors have asked for more information, but only 80 have actually sought indemnity cover.
The American Medical Association's (AMA) council on ethical and judicial affairs has said the offer introduces "inappropriate factors into medical decision making and therefore constitutes unacceptable gifts".
Upjohn has refused to comment on its indemnity scheme until the AMA's position is made clear. Sounds pretty clear to us. . .