Pfizer has been asked to explain the circumstances of a patient support programme by Australia’s Therapeutic Goods Administration.

Under the programme, Pfizer Australia pays pharmacists $7 for each patient prescribed one of nine selected Pfizer drugs who is then signed up for the support programme.

The pharmacist is then expected to forward on the patient’s contact information to Pfizer, allowing the company to communicate directly with the consumer to offer them information and advice pertaining to their condition.

The Therapeutic Goods Administration is investigating to see whether this exchange of information breaches the Therapeutic Goods Act, which bans the marketing of prescription drugs supplied under the nation’s Pharmaceutical Benefits Scheme.

At least 18 similar programmes are currently in existence between pharmaceutical companies and Australia’s Pharmacy Guild.

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