Canadian drugmaker Biovail Corp. has stopped offering payments to U.S. physicians who prescribe its new anti-hypertensive medication, Cardizem LA, a company executive reports.
Kenneth Howling, vice president for finance at the Mississauga, Ontario-based company, says payments of as much as $1,000 per physician were made to encourage them to send in scientific information about how they use the drug, not to encourage physicians to prescribe it.
Following newspaper reports on the payments earlier this week, Howling says the company has decided not to accept new physicians or new patients into the payment program, but not because of media pressure.
Howling says the company has received information from more physicians than the targeted number of 6,000 to 6,500 for the study.
"The intent was to generate research information that will be of benefit to patient needs," Howling says.
The drug is Biovail's first product in the U.S., and it is only available in the U.S. market, he says.
Howling says Biovail has not paid for information on any products before. The Cardizem LA program, he adds, was developed by Quintiles Transnational in Research Triangle Park, N.C., which he says generates similar programs for other drugmakers.
Howling adds that results of the research on Cardizem LA will be released in three to six months.