Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "pharmaceutical companies" ...

  • The Drug Trade

    Our graphic story and accompanying interactive summarized an analysis of generic and brand-name price increases for thousands of drugs. While smaller startup and investment companies grabbed headlines with dramatic increases in drug prices, our investigation showed that big pharmaceutical companies like AstraZeneca and Novartis raised prices by as much as 250 times over three years.
  • Dollars for Docs

    ProPublica first published Dollars for Docs, our comprehensive database of payments to doctors made by pharmaceutical companies for speaking, consulting, etc., in 2010. Millions of people have looked up their doctors, and hundreds of news organizations have used the data to tell important investigative stories. But it was only this year that, thanks to some painstaking work, we were able to match pharmaceutical payments with prescribing habits. And our findings were dispositive: Doctors who take payments tend to prescribe more brand-name drugs. Moreover, thousands of doctors who have had disciplinary actions against them by their state licensing boards are still getting pharma payments, and a greater share of physicians who work at for-profit hospitals take payments compared to those working at nonprofit or government facilities. https://projects.propublica.org/docdollars/ https://projects.propublica.org/graphics/d4d-hospital-lookup
  • Risk/Reward

    An investigation into the nation’s flawed system for approving new drugs, which allows pharmaceutical companies to produce expensive products of dubious value that put patients at risk.
  • Failure to report: a STAT investigation - Law ignored, patients at risk

    These stories examined how well the nation’s leading clinical research organizations followed the federal law that requires them to report publicly the results of completed clinical trials – experiments involving human subjects. We found that Stanford University, Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, and other prestigious medical research institutions flagrantly violated the law, depriving patients and doctors of complete data to gauge the safety and benefits of treatments. Nearly all other institutions – including pharmaceutical companies – flouted the requirements routinely. The failure to report has left gaping holes in the federal ClinicalTrials.gov database used by millions of patients, their relatives, and medical professionals, often to compare the effectiveness and side effects of treatments for deadly diseases. The worst offenders included four of the top 10 recipients of research funding from the National Institutes of Health, all of which disclosed results late or not at all at least 95 percent of the time since reporting became mandatory in 2008. http://www.statnews.com/2015/12/13/clinical-trials-investigation-methodology/ http://www.statnews.com/2015/12/13/clinical-trials-investigation/
  • Drug Problems: Dangerous Decision-Making at the FDA

    The public depends on the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to ensure that medicines are safe and effective, but through many months and almost 30,000 words of reporting, POGO’s ongoing “Drug Problems” investigation has revealed dangerously lax FDA oversight of prescription drugs. We found that the FDA has set low standards, approved drugs based on flawed clinical trials, taken a toothless approach toward doctors who violate standards of clinical research, allowed misleading marketing, provided inadequate warnings about drug hazards, slighted reports of drug-related deaths and injuries, withheld important information from the public, and made other dubious judgments that advanced the interests of pharmaceutical companies while putting patients at potentially deadly risk. Among other developments detailed in our package: After we exposed a potentially crippling flaw in the testing of a blockbuster drug, the FDA and its European counterpart said they were reexamining the clinical trial upon which they had based the drug’s approval.
  • Pets at Risk

    This series examined the fast-growing, secretive world of pet medicines -- how they are riskier, cheaper and quicker to develop than human medicines, and how some pharmaceutical companies are moving aggressively into this specialized, under-regulated world to cushion the blow of declining revenues from human medicines.
  • Merchants of Meth

    I exposed a concerted and well-funded campaign by the country’s leading pharmaceutical companies to defeat bills in Congress and state legislatures that were aimed at stopping the spread of toxic methamphetamine labs. At issue? Pseudoephedrine sales. The popular decongestant is the one key ingredient needed to make homemade meth. It also generates revenue for major pharmaceutical firms such as Pfizer, Johnson & Johnson, and Merck of more than $600 million a year. Fuelled by easy access to pseudoephedrine, the number of meth labs in the United States has increased by more than 60 percent since 2007. Thanks in large part to pharmaceutical industry lobbying, there has been no federal legislation to address the spread of meth labs since 2005. In 2006, Oregon successfully moved to restrict meth cooks’ access to pseudoephedrine by making it a prescription drug, despite heavy lobbying against the bill from the pharmaceutical industry. Since then, the number of meth labs in the state has fallen drastically—by more than 90 percent. Faced with the mounting social, law enforcement, and environmental costs associated with meth, legislators in at least 25 other states sought to pass similar laws. But pharmaceutical lobbyists fought back, and in all but one state—Mississippi—the bills were defeated. My reporting examined how the industry has set state lobbying spending records as it has deployed a new kind of lobbying strategy to block regulation of pseudoephedrine. Instead of focusing their efforts on courting politicians, they have taken their message directly to voters, deploying thousands of robocalls in key electoral districts and large ad buys in major media markets for advertising across multiple platforms from radio to the Internet. Their messaging, I found, was deceptive, failing to even mention that the proposed bills had to do with combatting the meth epidemic. I also examined the results of an electronic pseudoephedrine sales tracking database known as NPLEx, which is meant to prevent excessive purchasing. While it’s the only reform to ever earn backing from the pharmaceutical industry, I found a system full of holes that has been ineffective at preventing the spread of meth labs in virtually every state that has adopted it.
  • C-HIT: Pharma Perks

    The Affordable Care Act requires pharmaceutical companies to publicly report all payments to physicians by September 2013. Some drug companies have already compiled, but few consumers know that the information is available or how to access it. What this story did is disclose for the first time for CT consumers: 1) how many doctors in Connecticut are high-prescribers of certain psychotropic and pain medications, (108) 2) the cost of written prescriptions (hundreds of thousands of dollars in some cases) 3) how many of these doctors received payments from drug companies (at least 43) 4) and the amounts that the doctors received from the drug companies ($30,000 - $99,000) It also reported that only 3 doctors on the high-prescribing drug list have been disciplined by the state Medical Examining Board.
  • "Physicians on Pharma's Payroll: Educators or Marketers?"

    This story focuses on doctors as industry speakers and their relationship with pharmaceutical companies. The pharmaceutical companies claim to choose speakers based on expertise, but further investigation shows that many of the hired physicians have "serious transgressions on their state records." They also tend to be "high prescribers" of the company's products.
  • Dollars for Docs

    The series investigates the relationship between pharmaceutical companies and the physicians they pay to serve as their speakers and consultants. ProPublica created a searchable database on its website that allows members of the public to see whether their doctors have been paid by one of seven pharmaceutical companies.