Drug Maker Takes Over Clinics

  • Share
  • Read Later
NEW YORK CITY: News that British pharmaceutical firm Zeneca P.L.C. has taken control of the management of 11 cancer clinics it owns in the U.S. raised a host of ethical questions about whether a drug manufacturer should also oversee a patient's care. No drug manufacturer has ever directly overseen the full range of a clinic’s patient care. While government regulators may allow a relatively small fish like Zeneca to get away with such an arrangement, TIME's Dan Kadlec says they will probably crack down if the industry's heavyweights try to follow suit. "If it gets too cozy, the regulators are going to look at it. You aren't likely to see the big firms get away with this on a grand scale because it's too anti-competitive. It gives them too much control over pricing and which medications get used." While the possibility that a drug manufacturer could favor its own medicines over those made by competitors is clearly a consideration, other subtle but more serious questions are also raised by the arrangement. Zeneca clearly has the greatest incentive to see that its medications are used, but may have less interest in providing adequate levels of other kinds of therapy and treatment.