Big drug companies spend millions each year trying to get doctors to endorse their products.
But the big spending isn't just to get doctors to recommend groundbreaking new drugs — it's to get doctors to choose one company's drug over another, similar drug.
In an analysis of Affordable Care Act-mandated disclosures, ProPublica's Charles Ornstein and Ryann Grochowski waded through the massive amounts of cash drug makers shell out trying to get the medical establishment to choose particular versions of one drug of another.
In the last five months of 2013 alone, drug makers spent some $20 million cozying up to doctors and teaching hospitals.
What were they hawking?
As Business Insider noted, nine of the top 20 drugs that companies are paying the most to promote are competing against another drug in the top 20.
Victoza treats type-2 diabetes, so does Invokana.
Latuda, Abilify Maintena and Abilify all treat schizophrenia.
According to ProPublica's analysis, the real battle drug makers face isn't to get new pills to consumers — it's basic economic competition.
See the full list below:
1. Victoza, type-2 diabetes
2. Eliquis, anti-clotting drug
3. Brilinta, blood-thinner
4. Invokana, type-2 diabetes
5. Latuda, schizophrenia
6. Xarelto, anti-clotting drug
7. Humira, arthritis, ankylosing spondylitis, Crohn's disease
8. Tudorza, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
9. Daliresp,chronic obstructive pulmonary disease
10. Abilify Maintena, schizophrenia
11. Abilify, schizophrenia
12. Linzess, irritable bowel syndrome with constipation, chronic idiopathic constipation
13. Pradaxa, anti-clotting
14. Tradjenta, type-2 diabetes
15. Belviq, weight loss drug
16. Copaxone, multiple sclerosis
17. Samsca, hyponatremia (low sodium levels in the blood)
18. H. P. Acthar, infantile spasms, multiple sclerosis, endocrine disorders, arthritis, lupus
19. Symbicort, asthma
20. Aubagio, multiple sclerosis
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