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Recently I reported in this journal1 how it became necessary for a judge to settle a dispute between the pharmaceutical industry and certain Dutch pharmacists. It considered the question of whether a pharmacist is permitted, without prior consultation, to give a patient a (cheaper) generic drug instead of the patent drug mentioned on the prescription.
Another dispute has now arisen after the pharmaceutical industry discovered that healthcare insurers were paying general practitioners (GPs) a bonus if they prescribed generic drugs, such as simvastatin (which reduces cholesterol content) or omeprazol (which reduces the …