TRENTON, N.J., Oct. 15 (UPI) -- In an odd twist, pharmaceutical giant Novartis has urged employees to use more generics and over-the-counter medications, the New Jersey Star-Ledger reported.
Novartis Pharmaceuticals sent a memo to its workers urging them to help lower the company's spending on healthcare by purchasing less expensive generic medicines -- rather than the name brands that make the company the most money -- along with OTC remedies. It also asked employees to use mail-order pharmacies that charge less.
"Every major company in the U.S. has felt these increases (in healthcare) and, as a result, many corporations are reducing or restricting their benefits coverage for employees," wrote Paulo Costa, Novartis chief executive, in a memo obtained by the newspaper.
Critics contend Novartis is undermining the industry's stand that pharmaceutical companies need to charge the prices they do to ensure research and development needs are met.
"This is very hypocritical," Jerry Flanagan, healthcare policy director for the Foundation for Taxpayers & Citizens, told the newspaper. "This is a well-deserved dose of their own medicine."