GSK moves to cease incentivising doctors and scrap marketing targets

Pharmaceuticals giant GSK has announced it is to cease paying doctors to promote its drugs and will end prescription targets for its marketing staff – following a series of scandals fueled by such conflicts of interest.

The drugs industry has come under fire in recent years for its aggressive marketing tactics which have confused the lines between the commercial interests of the pharmaceutical industry and the needs of patients.

Commenting on the move Fiona Godlee, editor of the British Medical Journal, said: “Where GSK leads we must hope that other companies will follow.

"But there is a long way to go if we are to truly to extricate medicine from commercial influence. Doctors and their societies have been too ready to compromise themselves."

Britain’s largest drugs firm has been rocked by a major bribery scandal in China where it stands accused of funnelling $494m of cash to travel agencies to pay for bribes to boost sales of its drugs.

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