An economy that's causing consumers to cut back on everything -- including their medications -- and a bad public image thanks to skyrocketing medical costs has the pharmaceutical industry in a conundrum.
The program is clearly a ploy to keep patients on Pfizer's drugs -- being on the drug for three months before becoming unemployed is a prerequisite. Pfizer is trying to avoid a situation where doctors might switch patients under financial hardship from a drug like Lipitor to a lower-cost generic statin like a knockoff of Merck's
The new program seems like a great move by Pfizer. It's providing excellent positive public relations and, considering the high margins on drugs, the program isn't likely to cost the company that much money -- Pfizer's employees have even volunteered to pick up some of the tab. I expect we'll see more pharmaceutical companies following suit with free or discount drugs: GlaxoSmithKline
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