Monday, October 4, 2010

How BIG PHARMA Controls What Drugs Doctors Prescribe.

All of the following are tools that federal investigators say companies have used to exaggerate benefits, play down risks and promote off-label uses, meaning those the F.D.A. hasn’t approved them: Cash "incentives", gifts, meals and trips for doctors and their families in some cases, biased studies, ghostwritten medical journal articles, promotional conference appearances, and payments for postgraduate medical education that encourages a pro-drug outlook among doctors, control of the curricula for secondary medical education, influencing hiring and firiering of academics, etc.

For example, Dr. Stefan P. Kruszewski, a Harvard-educated psychiatrist who once worked as a paid speaker for several drug makers, became a government informant and now consults for plaintiffs suing drug companies. Earlier in his career, he spoke at events for Pfizer, GlaxoSmithKline and Johnson & Johnson as an advocate of antipsychotics. He said one company offered him incentives of $1,000 or more every time he talked to an individual doctor about one of its drugs.

“When I started speaking for companies in the late 1980s and early ’90s, I was allowed to say what I thought I should say consistent with the science,” he recalls. “Then it got to the point where I was no longer allowed to do that. I was given slides and told, ‘We’ll give you a thousand dollars if you say this for a half-hour.’ And I said: ‘I can’t say that. It isn’t true.’ ”

Slides for one new antipsychotic drug contended that it had no neurological side effects. “They made it all up,” Dr. Kruszewski said. “It was never true.”

*************************************************************************************Bill's comments:
To these drug companies, and their financial backers,it is all about their profit, the health and safety of the public be damned. Doctors, in many cases are willing to turn a blind eye to such drug industry tactics. Dr Kruszewsky is one of the small number of exceptions

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